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women in excellent health prior to diagnosis??

maggie_wilson's picture
Posts: 616
Joined: Nov 2009


i've been struck by how many women here have said what excellent health they were in before they were diagnosed with cancer--i count myself among them. in over 30 years of practice (psychotherapy), i never missed a day of work because of illness. hardly ever got sick, and the health issues i did have were all minor. in fact, it wasn't until my granddaughter entered day care and had runny nose after runny nose that i caught any colds in years. i don't really know what to make of this phenomenon of excellent health before ca, or if there is, in fact, anything to make of it. but i would be interested in hearing from other women who've enjoyed, and been lucky enough to have had very good health for most of their lives.


Posts: 44
Joined: Aug 2009

My sister was in relatively good health too! But, that being said - she was also 100 lbs overweight and that is a possible (?) cause of uterine cancer! But boy is she paying the price now! She finished her chemo on April 29 and had CT and CA 125 (6) done and so far cancer free, but still pretty fragile and weak. She has also lost 90 lbs between the radiation and the chemo. We pray that she is on the road to recovery!

jazzy1's picture
Posts: 1385
Joined: Mar 2010


I will agree with you as having read and spoken to many women who are "basically healthy" before cancer and wahla here comes the cancer diagnosis. I'm in those same shoes having been a big work-out gal --- running lots of miles per week. One side of it I was very light, weighing 102 lbs, 5'2", and today tipping the scales at 112 lbs. Ever see a heavy runner was always my take! I had no current health issues, nor any family history of any.

Thinking I was a good eater, didn't each much red meat -- never liked it -- loved fish and vegies and just plain, simple meals. While the family loved the creamy sauces, hamburgers and desserts.

One thing I've noticed after reading many books on cancer survival, we're eating more foods with pestiocides, fast foods, very little exercise causing many health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure..... Wondering if we ate well but the foods were loaded with pesticides??? Guessing the pre-cancer cell switch moved to the active cancer side due to these foods I was eating or just the polluted air I was breathing. Who knows?

Great question and surely we'll hear from a lot of our good experts here...

All I can say, even with a cancer diagnosis, I'm learning to take each day as my last!!! I truly love life more than before cancer...each simple event is "special"!

Take the day and make it your best~~

Posts: 60
Joined: Mar 2010

I was in the best shape of my life before I received my diagnosis in February 2010. I went to Nepal in October 2008 to climb to Base Camp of Annapurna I (the 10th highest mountain in the world). I lost weight while training for the climb and lost more from the physicial exertion during the climb. When I was diagnosed, I had no symptoms whatsoever, except for weight loss, which I attributed to all the physical activity and stress from divorce and my father's death from sarcoma. Although I am stage IIIC, I consider myself lucky. My mother and grandmother both had ovarian cancer in their late 40s (I am 48), so I always had yearly sonograms to watch my ovaries. December 2009 showed a borderline thickened endometrial lining, so to be safe, my GYN decided to do an endometrial biopsy.
If it wasn't for that surveillance sonogram that sneaky, nasty uterine cancer would still be growing silently inside of me.

cathyK's picture
Posts: 93
Joined: Jul 2009

yep agreed I was in great health other than the odd horse landing on my foot or dislocated shoulder from race horse wanting to go to the races faster than I could take him or back problems due to the very heavy lifting, hauling, working . only once I got sick in florida , coughing fits every time I was cleaning a stall. had a great boss he let me off for one week, and I just rested, did not go to a doc. was better in that week of rest , nothing else has happened.
I was in great health, acutally have only been to a doctor 4 times since arriving in the states 26 years ago. and before that, one knee problem that is it.
the doc said the only symptom I had was I was overweight, and had 1 week of weird period, but passed that off to menopause . the next week I got the test, then biopsy after that all heck broke loose in my body, felt like I was having a baby! the pain continued all day for a week. (after they agrivated the area taking a biopsy)
other than that I was happy healthy , over weight but still could get around and enjoy life .

lindaprocopio's picture
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

Besides being a life-long "gym rat" who exercised every day (even working as an aerobics & yoga instructor for 10 years when I was young), I have been an organic home gardener for the past 30 years and always ate a largely high fiber whole-grain organic diet. I've never been overweight, never smoked, always slept like a log each night. And I have been blessed with incredible health with life-long good blood pressure, cholesterol, cast-iron-stomach digestion, never had surgery (other than having my tubes tied after my 2nd Lamase childbirth). I used to say that they should study people like me that don't get viruses and maybe they could find a cure for AIDS or the common cold. The worst "illness" I ever had before my cancer diagnosis was a horrible bout of poison ivy.

& so I weigh my decades of perfect health against this horrible bad luck of getting struke by the lightning of cancer,...and I still feel blessed. It's a crap shoot who gets some types of cancer. I had none of the 'indicators', and yet, I have cancer. Go figure.

norma2's picture
Posts: 486
Joined: Aug 2009

I believe genetics played a part in my developing uterine cancer, Maggie. Most of my family either lived to be in their late 90's or died in mid-age of cancer. When I got the diagnosis I was not particularly blind-sided. My response was now that you found it, can you treat it? I think I have been lucky for the treatment I have received seems to be working so far. Thinking back I am thankful that I was born during a time when there are treatments for cancer that do work.

Before my diagnosis I was very healthy. Never sick except for the occasional upper respiratory infection. Only one thing was an ectopic pregnancy when I was in my early 20's.

I don't know what all this means. Just the luck of the draw. Some of us get cancer and some don't.

Cecile Louise's picture
Cecile Louise
Posts: 135
Joined: Dec 2009

I was in good health, just an occassional upper respiratory thing. For about 4-5 months prior to being diagnosed, I had a little bleeding between periods which I dismissed as peri-menopause. I saw it as more an inconvenience than anything. My weight/height was proportionate, no high blood pressure or diabetes, no evidence in pelvic exams or pap smears. My oncologist even went so far as to say that he would have never believed I had cancer had it not been for the D&C by gyno did to stop the bleeding. I was, however on the depoprovera birth control shot for about 2 years prior to my dx - whether that had anything to do with it, I don't know.

With love,

Posts: 27
Joined: May 2010

Prior to my diagnosis, I was very healthy-low blood pressure, never sick, cast-iron stomach, plenty of exercise, a good diet. I had no pain, just some unexplained bleeding. even the Dr was surprised by the results of the biopsy which was a grade 1 cancer. W/the surgery-everything looked good, but the pathology said there were microscopic cancer cells in some lymphnodes, so that put me at IIIC. I am still doing reading & research & have a CT scan scheduled this Friday.

norma2's picture
Posts: 486
Joined: Aug 2009

I just saw the cat picture and it made me laugh out loud.

Kaleena's picture
Posts: 2064
Joined: Nov 2009

When I was first going to comment on your post, I thought that I was healthy prior to my diagnosis too. But when I was looking back to type my reply I realized the following:

I was having a few panic attacks, I worried a lot, I burped a lot (which I thought was from stress); I was having some bowel problems I though was IBS; and I thought my skin didn't quite look right and I got full quickly when I ate. It was around this time that I felt that something was really wrong.

Although I never missed worked, I was working with a trainer, and was involved in many activies,I went to the doctors. He said it was stress wanted me to "TRY" some anti depressant pills (which I didn't take), and when I asked again about the bowel problems, he ordered a colonoscopy. I did the colonoscopy which came back good. But then I developed severe pain so I went to my gynocologist. He ordered a laparoscopy and an internal sonogram. The laparoscopy showed severe endometriosis and the internal sonogram indicated everything was fine with my ovaries. He gave me strong pain pills.

He ordered a total hysterectomy but put me on lupron for six months. He did the surgery and said everything look great and went well although I had a lot of scarring. It wasn't until the pathology came back that said I had endometrial adeno. I also had some on my one ovary. How could they not see that on a sonogram. The doctor was shocked with the pathology results because he said everything looked fine during surgery.

As a result, I had to have a staging surgery a month after my hysterectomy. At that surgery, they took samples and washings and everything came back negative. But I still went through the treatment plan.

I have to say, since my diagnosis and treatment, I have had no panic attacks anymore. I am stronger person than I was.

So maybe I wasn't as healthy as I thought and maybe some doctors need to pay attention more to woman's symptoms, but we must also inform the doctors of ALL of our symptoms, even the ones we try to shrug off (or the ones that may be embarrassing) and/or try to tell ourselves we don't have. Although I did tell my doctors everything, maybe a scan prior to my initial surgery would have saved me from having two surgeries!

Sorry, Maggie, I didn't think my reply would be a self-examination of myself!


P.S. Has anyone ever tested the water that they drink? And can the chemicals in the purification of water be associated with certain cancers? Sometimes the water companies send a pamphlet at times which indicated "allowable" chemicals in your water.

Ro10's picture
Posts: 1579
Joined: Jan 2009

i had high cholesterol which is heriditary. Have been on cholesterol lowering medications for many years. I follow a low fat diet, which includes lots of fruits and vegetables. Thought I was eating healthy. I exercised regularly. I do not feel like I have a lot of stress in my life. But I too got cancer. My mother had colon cancer and my brother died of colon cancer, so there was cancer in the family. But it was still a shock to get that diagnosis, as I had not symptoms. I was diagnosed with UPSC Stage 3-C. It still baffles me how it could be so advanced and have no symptoms. When I started chemo, I had issues with high blood pressure and rapid heart rates, so I am now on BP medication in addition to my cholesterol lowering medication.

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