MIAMI (CBS4) – A South Florida businesswoman is on a mission to educate other women about ovarian cancer, one of the leading causes of cancer death.
Shelley Golden said what she learned first-hand can help save others much heartache. Golden, who founded the See Eyewear stores with her husband Richard, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007, just before her son got married.
“My knees buckled, that was the beginning,” recalled Richard Golden.
Shelley underwent surgery and chemotherapy. She lost her hair, but did not lose her positive attitude.
The cancer went into remission. But like other ovarian cancer survivors, she must get her blood level checked every three months for CA-125. Women with ovarian cancer will have elevated levels of that blood protein. She gets the results at the Sylvester Cancer Center.
“Every time I come you can’t help but relive it a little,” Shelley said.
“The ride from our place here in Miami to Sylvester to get the results is a very, very stressful tense situation,” said Richard Golden.
Two years ago Shelley found out that the cancer came back. She fought it again. But now the hardest thing for her to live with is knowing what she could have done differently. It’s something that would have basically eliminated her chances of getting ovarian cancer.
Shelley’s doctor is Dr. Joseph Lucci, III at University of Miami’s Sylvester Cancer Center.
“It’s very frustrating when these women have long family histories yet never been connected to genetic counseling, testing or any kind of programs,” Dr. Lucci said.
Shelley’s mother had breast cancer that spread to her ovaries. Her grandfather had breast cancer. Shelley later learned she tested positive for the BRCA gene, which determines cancer risk. Had Shelley gotten her ovaries removed after she had children, she would have reduced her chances of getting ovarian cancer by 85 percent.
At their 27 See Eyewear stores across the country this month, there are pamphlets and t-shirts front and center for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Shelley Golden hopes women like her daughter Jessica will see it, and pay attention.
“It’s my mission now to get the word out and educate women so they never have to go through what I went through,” Shelley said.
Shelley discovered she had ovarian cancer after experiencing pain in her lower back. But Dr. Lucci said women should also get a doctor’s opinion if they have a change in bowel or bladder habits, feel full early, or bloated.