KNOXVILLE (WATE) – LeAnn Mynatt, a local attorney and avid runner, has always taken steps to be as healthy as possible, but a rare form of cancer, completely out of her control, suddenly struck.
It happened when Mynatt started the Cooper River Ridge 10K race in Charleston, S.C. last April.
As Mynatt remembers, “I couldn’t even run the first 100 yards, and I knew something was wrong.”
Her shortness of breath was caused by fluid in her lungs that doctors found contained ovarian cancer cells.
Mynatt was diagnosed with stage four of the disease.
“It was a shock,” she says.
Mynatt is among the estimated 22,000 new cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed this year. Research shows it occurs in one out of 71 women of all ages.
Ovarian cancer usually has no early symptoms. Later symptoms are vague: bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, and difficulty eating.
There’s no screening for it.
“It’s a rare cancer,” Dr. Larry Kilgore, gynecologic oncologist at UT Medical Center said. “It’s not that common, and it would take a very, very sensitive test to find it. And we’re nowhere close to that.”
Doctors know that women who have lots of children have lower rates of ovarian cancer, and women with no children have higher rates.
Knowing your family history is critical.
If anyone on your family tree has breast, ovarian or colon cancer, you could have a genetic mutation that puts you at increased risk for ovarian cancer.
Make sure you see your doctor regularly and let them know your family history and any new cancer cases among your relatives.
Don’t be afraid to challenge your doctor with important questions.
“Put me out of business, please, with ovarian cancer,” said Dr. Kilgore. “I would love that.”
With surgery and chemotherapy behind her, Mynatt is ready to get on with life.
“I’m getting stronger and better each day,” she said.