This post was developed in collaboration with Eisai Inc.
Today and every day, I want all of my friends and family, all of the women that I’ve met along the way, and all of YOU who are reading this post to know that EARLY DETECTION OF ENDOMETRIAL CANCER is the key, because learning that you have endometrial cancer early means that it may be more treatable. That’s just the reason I got involved in the Spot Her campaign. You see, I love my BFFs (and yes, I have many, both friends and family that I am lucky enough to consider besties). When my good friend Pen developed endometrial cancer it was a wake-up call for ALL of us.
After her diagnosis, I learned that endometrial cancer accounts for 90% of uterine cancer diagnoses, which is the fourth most frequently diagnosed cancer for women in the U.S. Not only is it the most common gynecologic cancer in the U.S., endometrial cancer is also one of the few cancers where both diagnoses and deaths are on the rise.
- That is why it’s SO important that women are aware of the factors that may increase their risk of developing endometrial cancer such as:
- Age (our risk increases as we age)
- A family history with uterine cancer
- Eating a high-fat diet and lack of exercise
- A history of irregular periods, among others
The most common signs are:
- Abnormal bleeding
- Spotting, or brownish discharge after menopause
- Irregular or heavy bleeding in women before menopause
- Pelvic pain or pressure
*These are not all of the possible risk factors or symptoms of endometrial cancer.
As I’m writing this, I’m thinking of the fun times and laughter my friends and I have had, but there was a time years ago when Pen was struggling with her health. We were neighbors and good friends. I’d call her “Perfect Penny” because she was beautiful, nice, could whip up a gourmet meal in minutes, and her home looked like a showcase. But as we all know, there is no perfect life. I remember after her third child (she wanted more), that she had tried to get pregnant only to learn that she had endometrial cancer. We talked about it, we cried together, and I held her hand as we drove to the hospital so many times.
I thought that endometrial cancer was a young women’s issue, but I learned recently that I was wrong. That not only my 30-something year old friend Pen was at risk, but Rachel, Sandy, and even I could have symptoms of endometrial cancer and not know it.
Some of you guys know that Rach and I are like sisters. There are periods of our lives that we spend more time together than we do with our husbands. There’s no one I’d rather be on a vacation with than her. She makes me laugh, she makes me cry, she makes me think seriously about my future (and lets me whine about my past). I feel so blessed to have women like her in my life.
Then there is Sandy, my sorta-sister. We’ve known each other the longest; she even introduced her mom to my dad who spent over 20 years of their lives together (hence the term sorta-sister). We play “glam” together and love to get dressed up to go to fancy dinners, traipse around Europe, look for just the right designer bags and talk about men (Sandy is single, so if you know anyone…LOL). I’d hate to lose any one of them, and I would like to think that I enriched their lives in a way that they’ve enriched mine.
The signs of endometrial cancer, and other gynecologic cancers, can be vague and similar to those of other conditions. Being able to recognize these symptoms and talk about them with your gynecologist or primary care doctor may help you and your girlfriends spot cancer early, when it may be more treatable.
That is why I am pledging to #SpotHerforEC and encourage you to do the same. I want to bring awareness to you so that you can have open conversations with the women in your life. FORCE, Share Cancer Support, Black Health Matters, and Eisai partnered to launch Spot Her—an initiative to help end the silence around endometrial cancer and inspire women to listen, advocate, and put their health first. For every use of the hashtag, Eisai will donate $1 per post to @facingourrisk and @sharecancersupport (up to $20k)!
It’s time for that serious ZOOM call. Why not gather your friends together for an evening of laughter, fun, and stories? Take a few minutes to talk about how you want them to know that you love them and what some of the potential signs of endometrial cancer are. While you’re there, watch this video on www.SpotHerforEC.com.
Over the next few months, I’m going to try to be the BEST friend that I can to you, so we’ll be talking even more about endometrial cancer. Follow along with me on my social media channels.
Love Your Bestie,