By Mary Bubala

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The phrase “below the belt” is taking on new meaning.

Each year, more than 90,000 women are diagnosed with “below the belt” cancers, which includes cervical and ovarian among many others and this month, awareness is being raised to fight these silent killers.

WJZ’s Mary Bubala has the latest.

Every six minutes, a woman in the United States is diagnosed with gynecologic cancer. Bonnie Hudak, 65, is one of them.

“We did a pap smear that came back fine,” Hudak said. “He said you are fine, just see how things go. I became an advocate for myself and said I know my body, I know that’s not what’s happening. There is something wrong.”

Hudak was right.

She was later diagnosed with endometrial uterine cancer, and she is alive today because doctors caught it early.

But below the belt cancers are often difficult to diagnose.

Here are some symptoms you shouldn’t ignore:

  • -Bleeding after menopause
  • -Pelvic Pain and Bloating
  • -Unexplained Weight Loss
  • -Nausea

 

What I always tell women is that many women have these symptoms, but these are symptoms that persist and occur every day,” said Johns Hopkins Hospital doctor Rebecca Stone. “You wake up and it’s on your mind, it’s bothering you. You go to bed and worry about it.”

September is gynecologic cancer awareness month. It’s a time to make the privates – a public discussion.

Johns Hopkins Hospital is bringing experts together with survivors and patients at a special conference downtown this weekend.

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