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Ovarian cancer patient thrives on hope

Giving up is not an option


By Sarah Watson

 Diana Chow

Despite her continuing fight against stage 4 high-grade serous ovarian cancer, Diana Chow describes herself as a woman with options. She attributes that positive outlook to her MD Anderson care team, led by Kathleen Schmeler, M.D., associate professor in Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine.

“Thank God for MD Anderson,” says Diana. “Otherwise, I’m certain that right now I wouldn’t be here.”

It all began Dec. 16, 2010, a day that did not go as Diana had planned. Good intentions of helping her sister move furniture led to a pulled abdominal muscle, a trip to the emergency room and a CAT scan that revealed a much more serious concern.

Ironically, it was a year to the day since Diana had lost her husband to complications from diabetes.

“It was a hard time for me,” she says.

From the emergency room, Diana went to MD Anderson, where further tests showed not one but many tumors — on her liver, intestine, spine and elsewhere.

 Diana Chow and daughter Angela Rosales, with four-legged friend Dexter, say knowledge is power when it comes to BRCA1 gene testing for ovarian cancer risk. Photos by F. Carter Smith

“I was surprised at how much the cancer had spread, but Dr. Schmeler gave me options from the very beginning,” says Diana.

Diana continues to fight back, grateful to have choices with each new round of chemotherapy and radiation.

Diana, whose family has a history of cancer, has tested positive for the BRCA1 gene. That knowledge, she says, is a powerful prevention tool for her two grown daughters.

“I want my children to be proactive with this test so they can prevent getting stage 4 cancer,” says Diana.

MD Anderson, she says, is synonymous with hope.

“There’s always hope, and you’re never out of options,” says Diana. “That’s what keeps me going.”

My Moon Shot

Since her diagnosis in 2010, Diana Chow has been concerned at the lack of funds for ovarian cancer research. She had a cause to champion when she heard that MD Anderson had selected high-grade serous ovarian cancer as one of the moon shots.

 Click on the image to watch a video
about Diana's cancer journey,
from diagnosis to survivorship.

"My solution is raising awareness of my type of cancer and of the need for philanthropic dollars to support much needed research. Research is important. It gives me options. I put my life on hold the year after my husband passed away. But I realized I have to keep living. I have faith in MD Anderson — it gives me the hope and the strength to keep going."

What’s your moon shot? Contact us at promise@mdanderson.org and tell us why MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program is important to you.

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© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center