CNN Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour shared her ovarian cancer diagnosis on her show on Monday and urged women to keep up with their regular screenings.
"I've had successful major surgery to remove it, and I am now going through several months of chemotherapy for the very best possible long-term prognosis, and I am confident," she said
Amanpour, 63, said she was fortunate to have health insurance through work and to be treated by doctors "in a country underpinned by of course the brilliant NHS," she said, referencing the National Health Service in the United Kingdom.
While she wanted to be honest with her viewers about why she was away, Amanpour said she also wants her story to serve as a reminder to women.
“I am telling you this in the interest of transparency, but in truth, really mostly as a shout out to early diagnosis to urge women to educate themselves on this disease and to get all the regular screenings and scans you can, to always listen to your bodies and of course to ensure that your legitimate medical concerns are not dismissed or diminished," she said.
Ovarian cancer can affect women of all ages, however there are several factors that may increase the likelihood of a woman developing the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those include:
- Being middle-aged or older.
- Having a family history of ovarian cancer.
- Having the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.
- Having an Eastern European or Ashkenazi Jewish background.
- Having endometriosis.
- Never having kids or having trouble becoming pregnant.
- Had breast, uterine or colorectal cancer in the past.
It's important for people to be aware of the symptoms: Stomach and back pain, bloating and pressure in the pelvic area are some of the early warning signs, according to the CDC.
Yet there's a reason why ovarian cancer is known as "the silent killer:" The symptoms, which can often be confused for other issues or dismissed as menstrual cramps, mean that ovarian cancer can go undetected unless women get regular screenings and advocate for their health when they know something isn't right.