AURORA, Colo. – Peyton Linafelter is not your ordinary ovarian cancer patient.
“I was diagnosed three years ago on my sixteenth birthday,” she remembered. “My type of cancer was just spontaneous, and it appeared out of nowhere.”
Peyton’s symptoms, like many other patients were not things you might normally worry about. She had lower back pain and abdominal pain and suffered from bloating. Others get a full feeling soon after eating, feel nausea, or experience reflux or changes in bowel movements. Experts call ovarian cancer "the disease that whispers."
“The symptoms tend to be things that are not very specific,” said Dr. Saketh Guntupalli, the gynecological oncologist who has been treating Peyton since she was diagnosed.
“When she came into my door with a stage 4b cancer I was very worried about her prognosis, but she's really beaten the odds over the last three years,” Dr. Guntupalli added.
While there is still no screening for ovarian cancer, researchers have been able to come up with new treatments over the past 20 years which have more than doubled the survival of the disease. Dr. Guntupalli says that includes things like custom chemo-therapy, making antibodies out of a patient’s own blood cells, and nano-technology.
“Research is an incredibly important part of what I do and what we do here at UCHealth,” said Dr. Guntupali. “So we're just kinda moving that needle further along in this battle.”
Three years after diagnosis, Peyton is now a model who has traveled the world. She says she doesn’t know if she would be modeling today if it weren’t for her cancer fight.
“I was a completely different person before diagnosis and after diagnosis” she said. “I just want people to know not to be afraid, to really live their life after their cancer diagnosis and to live it to the fullest no matter what that means.”
You can help in the fight against ovarian cancer. The Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance is hosting their 10th annual Jodi’s Race for Awareness on Saturday, June 8 at Denver’s City Park Pavilion. Denver7 is a proud sponsor of the race.