Cheri Piscia-Nichols’ Story
In February 2000, I was diagnosed with Stage IC ovarian cancer. I was 28 years old and had no family history of cancer of any kind. During my routine annual exam, the nurse practitioner felt that something was not right. An ultrasound revealed that I had a cystic mass the size of an orange on my left ovary. They scheduled a surgery to remove the cyst because of its size, but the doctors were not concerned because of my age, family history, and the fact that the CA-125 was on the low side of normal. It was not until after surgery, during pathology, that the doctors determined it was ovarian cancer.
After I was diagnosed, I thought back and realized I had had symptoms, but disregarded them because they were so vague. During my menstrual cycles each month, I had shooting pains on my left side, which I had never had before. I also started experiencing urinary frequency in the middle of the night, and fatigue, which I thought was due to planning my wedding, working too hard and not exercising regularly.
I was lucky, because my cancer was found early when it is the most curable. Although I am profoundly grateful, I know this is not the case for most women. I feel very strongly that the key to fighting this disease is early detection. In order to raise money for an ovarian cancer early detection test, my husband, Aaron, and I have organized an annual golf tournament in Napa, California.