YAHOO.COM - Melinda Cosman, of Manchester, Conn., thought the hard part was over when she welcomed her husband home from a yearlong deployment to Iraq.
She never imagined the family would have to endure a more difficult challenge. In June 2011, shortly after her husband returned, their 7-year-old daughter Natalie was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
"Your life is put on a test," said Cosman. "It has made us stronger."
Throughout the previous year, Natalie complained of stomach pains, sometimes so excruciating, she would have to miss school. Her doctors chalked it up to constipation, maybe a stomach bug. But when the pain became unbearable, Cosman took Natalie to the emergency room.
"[The doctors] were shooting for appendicitis and they brought her in for an ultrasound in the morning to confirm that," said Cosman.
Instead of a ruptured appendix, the ultrasound detected a 7-centimeter cyst on Natalie's ovary.
Nearly 22,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, according to the National Cancer Institute. Experts estimate that 500 to 1,000 cases occur in females under age 20.
While cysts are common among women of childbearing age, they are considered rare in young girls who have not undergone puberty. click here to read more