(Featured photo: At right, Janet Miller laughs at Cork and Flame Sept. 27. The lunch was part of CSRA Gynecological Cancer Support Group Spa Day. Chris Curry/Georgia Cancer Center)
Although she’s been in remission from ovarian cancer for eight years, Janet Miller still experiences some of the aftereffects of chemotherapy such as neuropathy.
“Things like yoga and massages help,” said Miller, one of the participants in the annual CSRA Gynecological Cancer Support Group Spa Day Sept. 27 in Evans.
Women with reproductive cancers such as ovarian, cervical and endometrial cancer had the chance for a little pampering with options such as a massage, a mani or pedi or a facial. Then they had lunch at Cork and Flame.
Miller chose the massage.
September is gynecological cancer awareness month, and there are four major types of female reproductive cancers.
“Ovarian is the one that is the deadliest. It’s less common with about 12,000 women diagnosed per year, but it has a poor prognosis overall,” according to Bunja Rungruang, section chief of gynecological oncology at the Georgia Cancer Center.
The other cancers are endometrial which is the most common gynecological cancer; cervical and vulvar/vaginal.
Cervical can be detected early through routine pap smears. While a pap smear doesn’t detect endometrial cancer, the test can detect abnormalities in the endometrium that can be followed up on. Early diagnosis gives those women a better prognosis.
There’s no similar screening test for ovarian cancer, Rungruang said.
Ovarian cancer’s symptoms can be vague and confused with other conditions.
The American Cancer Society said that symptoms can be constipation, bloating, frequent urination and pelvic pain. It’s not often discovered in the early stages.
With Miller, she could feel a mass in her side.
“It was Stage 3C,” said Miller who was diagnosed in April 2014. She underwent surgery, chemotherapy and the clinical trial of a new treatment that she considered herself blessed to have been part of.
She spent about 15 months undergoing treatment and still returns to the doctor every four months for bloodwork.
The support group has been around for about 19 years, and the spa day has been held in September for about 15 or 16 years, Rungruang said.
The support group is open to patients and caregivers, she said. It meets monthly at the Georgia Cancer Center. It allows patients to network with one another.
“We also try to empower them with education,” she said.
For more information visit the support group’s website here.
Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News, has covered Augusta’s news for 35 years. Reach her at email@example.com. Sign up for the newsletter here.
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