Teenagers like Peyton Linafelter deal with the usual struggles female adolescents have: menstrual cramps, breakouts, and other period-related problems. But then Peyton has a different problem from her peers: ovarian cysts.
On her 16th birthday, she learned of her stage 4 ovarian cancer — a disease that affects most women in their 60s.
Peyton was in shock. She didn’t fit the typical ovarian cancer patient. Despite her shock, Peyton was relieved. Her pain finally had an explanation.
According to the Women’s Aid Center, ovarian cancer is the eight most common cancer in women. The center also says it is a serious concern for women older than 55. But what about young girls like Peyton?
Cancers in Teens
While most cancer cases occur in older adults, adolescents are also susceptible to the disease; in this case, teen-related cases include patients between the ages of 15 and 19. It’s not a common condition among adolescents like Peyton, but a specific variety of cancers occur in this age group, which include ovarian cancer.
A specific type of ovarian cancer, known as germ cell tumors, is the common case in teens and young women.
Ovarian cancer, like other cancers, is a silent killer that manifests through slight pain. But symptoms will differ. For Peyton, it was lumps in her ovaries and excruciating pain. A regular checkup could catch the disease in its early stage. Doctors also recommend observing the following signs:
- Lumps, bumps, and swelling
- Drastic weight loss
- Headaches and dizziness
- Pain that refuses to go away despite painkillers
- Frequent exhaustion
- Frequent bleeding and bruising
Chemotherapy and surgery are the top treatments for ovarian cancer. Early diagnosis will require surgery to remove affected ovaries; advanced cases, on the other hand, will require more extensive surgery.
In Peyton’s case, she immediately took chemotherapy drugs, but one of her lungs collapsed when the tumor filled it with liquid. To remedy the problem, doctors recommended surgery to clear the tumors.
At 17, Peyton is now in remission and actively sharing her story. She encourages young girls such as herself to get checked. Early detection will mean better treatment options.