Ovarian Cancer Patient Stories

  • Cynthia Danko

    Cynthia Danko

    Like most people, Cindy Danko had no time to be sick. A full time house painter, Cyd – as she’s known to her friends – was used to keeping a busy schedule packed with physically demanding work. In February 2009, shortly before her 50th birthday, Cyd went to her gynecologist for an annual exam. Within a few days, her doctor called to explain that her Pap test was abnormal. “I thought it was a mistake,” said Cyd.  

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  • Missy Light Dougherty

    Missy Light Dougherty

    Ovarian Cancer with fertility preservation

    Missy Dougherty is a beach girl at heart and has spent many summers in Sea Isle City, New Jersey. The summer of 2007 was to be no different. Missy and her husband, Brendan, planned to take their 2-year-old son to Sea Isle every weekend. However, Missy was more tired than usual and began experiencing symptoms consistent with both irritable bowel syndrome and a urinary tract infection. At 31, she was also hoping to have another baby.

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  • Joan Foley

    Joan Foley

    Ovarian Cancer

    An outdoors enthusiast, Joan E. Foley, PhD, took 25-mile bike rides three to four times a week. She also enjoys sailing, boating and nearly every activity on the water.Otherwise healthy, trim and active, Joan began to feel bloated and experienced indigestion for several months in early 2014. She made an appointment with her family doctor for a blood work-up. “I thought it was lactose or glucose intolerance or a stomach virus," shares Joan. Because her test results revealed elevated levels of an ovarian cancer marker (CA-125s), a CAT scan was ordered. When the results came back, Joan learned she had a five-inch mass in her abdomen.

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  • Barbara Ganderton

    Barbara Ganderton

    In June, 2014, Barbara Ganderton, then 46, joked to her husband Jeff that she was pregnant because she felt bloated. She soon menstruated and the bloating seemed to subside. A few weeks later her family traveled to the Jersey shore for their annual vacation. Mid-week she recalls feeling bloated again and constipated. “I decided to tough it out until we got home from vacation. Upon returning home, I scheduled an appointment with my primary doctor who said she felt fluid in my belly and wanted me to go for an ultrasound of my pelvis and abdomen,” Barbara recalls. “I was able to get an ultrasound for the next day. I knew something was wrong when the person doing the ultrasound also wanted to do an internal ultrasound. Later that night, my primary doctor called to let me know that I had ovarian cancer.”

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  • Debbie Richards

    Debbie Richards

    Ovarian Cancer

    Heading into 2014, Debbie Richards was preparing herself for a new year full of anxiety and excitement. Her daughter, Ashley, was settled in at Penn State University, but her husband, Ernie, had accepted a new position as high school principal in Sunbury, PA, a couple of hours from their home in Milford, PA. Along with the move, Debbie would have to find a new job herself. She is the Communications Director for Port Jervis School District in New York. What she did not expect was a diagnosis of cancer – but that is what happened in late March 2014 when Debbie learned she had ovarian cancer.

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