Shannon Miller, currently age 44, is a world-renowned gymnast who has been inducted into the US Olympic Hall of Fame.
She remains the only woman to have the honor of being inducted not once, but twice.
She is also the most decorated American gymnast of all time, amongst both men and women.
After her Olympic career, Shannon attended law school and later began her own company devoted to health and wellness.
At the young age of 33, Shannon was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
As a woman of astounding personal health and strength, Shannon is a true reminder that cancer really can affect anyone. Since her initial diagnosis, Shannon has made it her life’s mission to educate and raise awareness on the importance of routine checkups and screenings.
Shannon continues to make strides regarding ovarian cancer outreach and education.
She admits to having a bit of a shy personality, but when it comes to saving lives, Shannon is doing all she can to spread awareness on ovarian cancer.
She says she is willing to discuss her ovaries “all day long.” At the time of her diagnosis and treatment, Shannon was not aware of what the symptoms of ovarian cancer consisted of. She simply believed she had never experienced any symptoms and that her cancer just sort of came out of the blue.
Looking back, she realizes that some minor signs and symptoms were there.
As a young woman myself, I can attest that choosing to have regular screenings isn’t at the forefront of my mind.
I, like Shannon, view myself as too young to be diagnosed with such life-threatening illnesses. Young adults often tend to focus on the smaller picture.
Did I get enough exercise today? Check. Did I drink plenty of fluids? Check. Enough protein and nutrients? Check and check. Did I schedule a routine checkup? Not check.
Shannon goes on to share that ovarian cancer can have a survival rate of over 90% when it’s caught early enough.
However, only about 20% of ovarian cancer cases are detected in the early stages, pushing the cure rate way down.
Many women often get routine pap smears to detect cervical cancer or mammograms to check for breast cancer. Both of these tests have allowed thousands of lives to be saved through early detection.
Numerous advances have been made to detect both cervical cancer and breast cancer in their early stages.
There is currently no widely used screening method for ovarian cancer.
This is part of the reason why it is so difficult to catch ovarian cancer in its preliminary stages. However, Shannon explains that there are strides women can take to increase their chances of early detection.
We can all aim to educate ourselves on the symptoms associated with ovarian cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
Excess bloating and pressure in the abdomen, a heightened desire to urinate and struggles with eating are all associated with the early stages of ovarian cancer.
These symptoms are quite vague and are often associated with many other regular bodily processes for women. However, if these symptoms persist and even worsen, it is time to see your doctor.
Regular checkups and screenings are crucial to detect cancer in its earliest stages.
Most of us know someone who has been affected by cancer, but we can all do our part to educate both ourselves and others on associated symptoms.
Be sure to share this article and continue to spread awareness on cancer screenings and education. Who knows, you just might save a life!
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