Woman's 'Pregnancy' Turns Out to Be a Rare Cancer

negative pregnancy testHearing the words "you must be pregnant!" is an exhilarating experience for many women. But for Louise Bryant, a woman whose doctors had her take seven pregnancy tests before they could figure out it was cancer that was causing her to experience sharp stomach pains and bleeding in between periods, it must have been all sorts of frustrating.


The 25-year-old told The Mirror:

There was something in my stomach all along, but it certainly wasn't a baby. I was 110 percent positive that I was not pregnant, but I was repeatedly asked to do more tests.

And test after test, doctors remained totally confused. Even when Louise's symptoms went on to include more severe back pain, a loss of appetite, and frequent urination.

Fast-forward two months, a doctor sent her for an ultrasound, which appeared to show a small cyst on her right ovary. A month after THAT, Louise learned that little cyst was actually a tumor the size of a small football. And further testing showed the cancer had already spread to her fallopian tube, and the tumor was pressing on her lungs, causing difficulty breathing. CRAZY.

More from The Stir: Newlywed Dies of Cervical Cancer at 26 After Being Denied a Simple Pap Smear

Finally, Louise was diagnosed with immature teratoma, a rare type of ovarian cancer. She had to have her tumor, ovary, and fallopian tube removed in a four-hour-long operation, which was considered a success, eliminated the cancer, and thankfully didn't affect her fertility.

This is undeniably a testament to the fact that we should trust our intuition, seek second opinions, and always be our own best health advocate.

Still, what happened to Louise isn't uncommon. "Unfortunately, the symptoms of ovarian cancer are very vague and can mimic several diseases, so pinpointing a diagnosis may take some time and evaluation," explains Margaret Liotta, DO, a gynecologic oncologist at Loyola University Health System and an assistant professor at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. 

That said, knowledge of the symptoms of ovarian cancer (and this rare form) is power. "Symptoms include abdominal distention, pain, constipation, issues with urination, pelvic pressure, getting full easily, and increasing abdominal girth," says Dr. Liotta.

If you experience these symptoms and are concerned, Dr. Liotta advises seeing a gynecologist or gynecological oncologist for evaluation.

Ultimately, trusting yourself and feeling empowered as a patient to ask for further testing -- in other words, not just a pile of pregnancy tests! -- is what could save your life. It definitely sounds like that's what helped save Louise's.


Image via Paul Velgos/iStock

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