21-Year-Old Woman Diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer After Years of Doctors Ignoring Her Pain, Jessie Sanders, then 15 years old, was finally diagnosed with ovarian cancer after six years of being ignored by medical professionals.
The now 21-year-old San Diego State University student spoke candidly to Today about her years of suffering before the diagnosis. Sanders claimed that her OB-GYN advised her to attempt birth control when the pain started and that her body was only undergoing changes.
Years of doctor visits followed, and her agony was repeatedly dismissed as period cramps.
She told the outlet, “I thought I was crazy having these pains [because] doctors always [dismissed] my pain.
Sanders stated, “I was always really annoyed because the doctors usually think that you’re pregnant, that it’s simply hormones, or that it’s your menstrual cycle.” “And I simply respond, “No, it’s not.” I am aware that my body is experiencing further problems.”
Sanders said the pain became so bad during her junior year of college that she returned to the hospital, hoping her symptoms wouldn’t be discounted. Soon after Thanksgiving in 2021, she was informed upon arrival at Kaiser Zion Medical Center in San Diego that she had a 17-centimeter cyst on her right ovary.
Doctors hurried Sanders into surgery, where her right ovary and the cyst were removed.
Sanders decided to post her experience while undergoing treatment on TikTok, where she received hundreds of responses from other women who had experienced the same denial of their symptoms.
She told Today, “I’m frustrated for myself and other women.” “I don’t want their medical care to be cut off. All I have to do is spread the message. I want to empower others to stand up for themselves.”
By selling T-shirts and sweatshirts to raise money for the Small Cell Ovarian Cancer Foundation, Sanders founded the organization Fight for Female Health due to her experience. She uses her platform to spread knowledge about ovarian cancer symptoms and early detection.
“It’s essential for all women to know their bodies and when something’s wrong, and if it’s wrong, then to see a healthcare provider and… if they feel like they’re being dismissed, to change to someone else,” Sanders said. “Nobody should be dismissing people or failing to investigate the possible causes of (my) problems. It was obvious that something was off.”