Terminally ill cancer patient shares story to alert women
Beth Macdonell , CTV Winnipeg
Published Friday, February 21, 2014 7:11AM CST
Last Updated Friday, February 21, 2014 6:58PM CST
A Winnipeg woman diagnosed with ovarian cancer is speaking out and sharing her story in the hopes of helping women avoid dying from the disease.
One week ago on Valentine’s day, Terry Dokken broke news to her family that she was terminally ill. Doctors told her she has six months to a year left to be with her family.
The 56-year old wife, mother and grandmother has been fighting the cancer for almost two years.
"It's hard. It's just I want to be there for them, and I want to tell them it's okay to cry,” said Dokken at her East Kildonan home. “I want to say, just be there for each other."
At the time of her diagnosis, doctors found eight tumors inside her body. She says one of those tumors was 30 centimetres wide.
Terry says she wishes she paid more attention to the early symptoms of the cancer, and wants others to be more aware.
"I was feeling bloated, I was feeling uncomfortable, very constipated, and that wasn't normal for me, and that was one of the main things," said Dokken. “Looking back, that should have been one of the red flags for me."
The Canadian cancer society says in 2013, 100 women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer in Manitoba. That same year, 70 women in the province died from the cancer.
The internal nature of ovarian cancer often makes it hard to detect.
Dr. Alon Altman with CancerCare Manitoba said unlike other cancers, there are no early screening tests.
“Given what we have we have no way than detecting cancers early other than the patients coming to their family doctors with those strange vague early symptoms," said Altman.
The Canadian Cancer Society wants to double the survival rate in the next five years.
"In order to accomplish that researchers have told us there are some significant advances that can be made, so we are looking to fund that,” said Erin Crawford from the society’s Winnipeg office.