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Symptoms Of Ovarian Cancer "Vague, Subtle"

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Doris Haropulos is fighting for her life. The 79-year-old was diagnosed with late stage ovarian cancer last year after months of feeling bloated and nauseous.

"By the time the symptoms come up, it's already in you pretty big. That's the sad part about ovarian cancer," she says.

After a round chemotherapy and surgery, the cancer went into remission, but now it's back.

"I really thought I had it beat," she says.

About three-quarters of women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed with late stage disease.

"The signs and symptoms can be very vague and subtle from a mild abdominal complaint to coughing to loss of urine when you sneeze, to inability to eat much of a meal," says Dr. David Fishman of Mount Sinai Hospital.

Ninety percent of women who get ovarian cancer are over 40. There is no screening for this disease, but there are risk factors.

Dr. David Fishman heads up Mount Sinai's Ovarian Cancer Risk Assessment Program.

"Women who have an increased risk based on genetic or personal issues. Genetic issues can be family history of cancers that are inheritable breast, ovarian, colon, thyroid, melanoma," he says.

Doris says her diagnosis was a big shock since she had no family history.

"Be very diligent with your body," says Doris. "Women have to be educated with ovarian cancer."

Fifteen percent of women with late ovarian cancer survive. Doris hopes she's one of them.

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