Ovarian Cancer Community
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Avatar universal

cysts vs. cancer

For about 6 months now, I have been very aware of the constant, dull pain in my left ovary.  Sometimes it is a very sharp pain and can last a while.  Some days are worse than others but I feel something every day.

In addition, I have felt other symptoms for some time and new ones are coming and everything is starting to feel worse. Lately, I have been very tired. I could come hope from work now and nap I am so tired. I have never been that tired before.  I usually have lots of energy.  My back and leg have also started to get lots of pain, but I have felt that also for awhile.  My belly is so bloated all the time and hurts from it. Most days I look 3 months pregnant (and it isn't my fat) but sometimes can look 6 months.  I can barely eat much food, I always feel so full.  And one meal, lunch, will do me just fine. I might eat an apple for dinner and that fills me up.  Some days I am really nauseas and sick.  Heartburn is about 3-5 times a week with normal foods - this is fairly new in the last few months.  There is more...but they are all symptoms of ovarian cysts and ovarian cancer.

In January, I stayed home from work one day not feeling well and I watched Dr. Oz.  There was a woman on there that had been treated for UTIs, Acid Reflux, IBS, and some of them repeatedly.  But something about that spoke to me.  It made me aware of the pain I had been feeling in my ovary and prompted me to call my gyne.  I had an appointment about 6 weeks away for a follow up from my abnormal pap and biopsy for cervical cancer.  Paps, do not involve ovarian cancer so not related.  But I called cause I decided I shouldn't wait the 6 weeks. They got me in fairly quickly.  I was going to see the male doctor.  Right away he discounted my concerns that my ovary hurts and said it was my bowels.  Ummm, no, I am aware with what hurts.  He scheduled me for an ultrasound for the next week and a follow up.  I did the ultrasound in that hell week when I was to move and take that test.  The following week, I met with him and he said that I had cysts and that they just resolve themselves and I should be good to go.  He said something about they are hemmoraging cysts, I think.  Told me nothing else. It seems reading here, everyone knew what size their cysts were etc. I didn't really know what to ask anyway.  He told me to do a follow up ultrasound in about 6-8 weeks and no followup with him is necessary. If they have concerns, they will call me.  

So, I leave and google.  Ovarian cysts should typically resolve themselves in 1-2 months.  I am going on at least 6 now and feeling worse and worse with each week.  Also, often times, women do not even feel or know that they have cysts.  

I was at my primary care for an unrelated issue a few weeks ago and it was a day when I was really nauseas so I told her briefly what was going on.  She seemed a bit concerned and had me do a urine test.  I knew it she would tell me a UTI, even though I have no symptoms.  Another Dr. Oz episode had a specialist on talking about ovarian cancer and said something about UTI are often diagnosed incorrecedly.  However, I have been unable to find anything on this when I google.  I have found no correlation between the two.  Sure enough, I had blood in the urine and she put me on antibiotics and treated me for UTI.  She told me to schedule an appointment with the following week.  I went Monday night.  She asked me lots of questions and I also just kept spewing anything and everything out to her that I have felt is wrong. I said, this is either all connected or I am totally falling apart at the age of 40.  We talked openly and she told me that she is concerned and isn't going to lie, but ovarian cancer is in her mind, but not saying that is what it is just that it has crossed her mind.  They called me yesterday to schedule me for the CT scan today.  

I have to say, I felt like crying the other night out of pure relief that she listened, seemed to care and acted with urgency.  
9 Responses
1046985 tn?1305120648
All I can say, is follow your gut instinct until you are sure in yourself you have covered all bases. Your symptoms could be so many things, but don't let anyone fob you off. Good luck with your results, the key thing is be PROACTIVE, its your body and you only get one go at it.
Avatar universal
We have very simular stories except I was also having breathing probs and they thought I had Azma! Got a CT to check my lungs and oops whats that fluid on your upper ab, lets do another CT. Whats that big thing on your left ovary? OK maybe its not azma....I am having surgery tommarro. Still don't know if its a cyst or the big C.
I am so sorry you have been feeling so bad and no one would listen to you. I have been saying this all week, No one will listen!!!
I am so thankful your dr listened to you now. DO NOT give up on this, press on and make them do there jobs, thats what they get the big bucks for.Thats why we pay so much on insurence. If they find something, anything, they need to send you straight to an GYN oncologist, forget seeing your reg GYN. The oncologist will take over weather its a cyst or the other. Thats whats happening for me. My GYN said to bypass his office and send me straight to the oncologist.
This all needs to happen within the same week, not weeks away.
Go girl.. Make them listen to you, you know your body better than anyone ever will.
924010 tn?1251292776

I just wanted to add that my Mom is having the same issue. Mom was diagnoise in April 2009 with Ovarian cancer -she had her surgery in Aug 2009 and is still doing some additional chemo.

About 2 months ago she started felling a dull pull on her right side and it pained her whenever she want to go to the bathroom. She mention it to her chemo doc and he examined her and said to her both times she mention it to him that we will monitor it and drink pain tablets if the pain is too much to handle.

Since being diagnoise both Mom and I are both pro active when it comes to our health. So we went to our family doc and told her what was going on. She sent my mom for a ultra sound and the result of which is Mom has a cyst rear he bladder.  I am so frustrated and a little angry at her chemo doc... if someone was diagnoise with cancer i would imagine their doc would be more incline to  be proactive but I guess some docs are not.

You continue to be proactive about your health and please keep up posted. You will be just fine - if it is ovarian cancer I must say it will a battle ahead but it's a battle that can be won... be strong and we are all her to support you in any way possible.


Avatar universal
I absolutely agree with you! I was persistant in telling people that there was something wrong.  After many visits with my ob/gyn I was diagnosed with pcod and ended up being followed by u/s for many months. It was not until they actually removed my right ovary that my cancer was actually diagnosed. I then began seeing an ob/gyn oncologist and had a tah/lso subsequently. That was 5 years ago! Now that my ob/gyn knows what to look for I am very comfortable in her care. My tumor marker came back positive recently and I have to go for more testing...but the more persistant you are the more likely that things will be taken care of sooner and more agressively.

Good luck tomorrow and please let us know how things turn out for you.
155056 tn?1333642288
The  average delay in diagnosis when first presenting to a doctor with symptoms is 3 to 12 months, that is why so many ovarian cancers are diagnosed late stage.  

The other thing to remember is that most ovarian cysts, well over 90 percent are benign and can produce the same symptoms as can IBS and other illnesses.  

I would call the gyn and ask for a copy of the ultra sound report.  The details will all be there.  

How did the CT Scan go?  
Avatar universal
My PCP just performed a CT Scan and that came back showing my uterus as "unremarkable" so not sure what the ultrasound is showing vs the CT scan.  

I was to go for my follow up ultrasound next week but I was feeling even worse this week and I guess I must have looked really bad at work the other day cause my boss wanted to call an ambulance for me. LOL.  Anyway called gyne and got right in for a followup US and meet with the doctor.

My second ultrasound was yesterday and the doctor came in and said although the ultrasound shows my cyst has shrunk a little, it is necessary to go in and remove it and also take a look around.  Gave me no further information than that. I was in pain and just really upset about some other things and just really out of it yesterday so asked no questions, besides not sure what to ask really.  So I said ok.  They scheduled me for surgery / laparoscropy on Tuesday and we will call you with the details once arranged.  

I have not had the CA125 but maybe they will do that pre-op on Monday.  But I have had lots of pain like bad cramping daily for over 6 months, back pain, severe bloating, late periods and now mid cycle bleeding to mention a few problems.  
Avatar universal
Good luck on Monday and keep us posted. Hopefully everything will come back benign for you. I'll keep you and your family in my prayers!

As far as knowing what questions to ask....I would check out the American Cancer Society's website before your post op visit. They have printable lists of questions to ask that are very helpful. I also suggest that you bring a notebook to jot down pertinant information. When you are in pain, stressed out, or in panic mode sometimes you can't remember everything that is talked about during a visit. You can also request the medical documentation for your visit-you just have to fill out a release form. Hope this helps...try to have a good weekend.
Tammy :)
Avatar universal
Paulette --

Good luck on Tuesday.  Lap surgery usually means they think it's probably benign -- a good start.  If there's any chance you have ovca, do press for a CA-125.  My doctor never did one pre-op, so I don't actually know if it's a good "marker" for me in terms of follow-up.  

Tammy --

What, exactly, is a medical documentation?  Sounds like a good idea if it's what I think it is.  

Avatar universal
Medical documentation is what is included in your medical chart. It is the Dr's notes for each visit, lab results, test results, consult notes and that type of thing. Every medical practice will have a form available for you to fill out so that you can obtain copies of anything out of your chart that you may want to have. Hospitals even offer films on a computer disk now in many places.

Hope this helps!
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