Know the Signs of Ovarian Cancer and Your Risk

The month of September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. Studies have found that awareness of disease does not increase anxiety in women. Instead it has been shown to empower women with the knowledge to be effective advocates for themselves and take charge of their health. Women who know the signs of ovarian cancer have a greater chance of catching the disease in its earliest stages, thus giving them a greater chance of survival.

Facts of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is the deadliest of all gynecologic cancers and the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths among American women.

• A woman’s lifetime risk of developing invasive ovarian cancer is 1 in 71.

• More than 21,000 American women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year.

• More than 13,850 deaths were expected to be caused by ovarian cancer in the United States in 2010.

If ovarian cancer is diagnosed and treated early, while still confined to the ovary, the five year survival rate is over 90%. To help defend yourself from ovarian cancer you should know the symptoms of ovarian cancer and if you are at increased risk for the disease.

Know the Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

Research shows that women with ovarian cancer do experience symptoms even in the earliest stages. However, without increased awareness about the subtle signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, many women, and their doctors, will attribute symptoms to other conditions.

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
 

· bloating

· pelvic and abdominal pain

· difficulty eating or feeling full quickly

· urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)

 

Additional symptoms may include

· fatigue

· indigestion

· back pain

· pain with intercourse

· constipation

· menstrual irregularities

 

If you are experiencing any of the signs of ovarian cancer on a daily basis for more than a few weeks, you should talk with your physician, preferably a gynecologist, right away.

 

Know Your Risk of Ovarian Cancer

Women need to know if they may be at a higher risk for ovarian cancer and what action to take to protect against the disease.

 

Factors that increase risk include:

· increasing age

· personal or family history* of ovarian, breast or colon cancer

· never having been pregnant or given birth to a child

 

* Approximately 10 to 15 percent of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer have a hereditary tendency to develop the disease.

 

If you believe you are at a higher risk for the disease, you should discuss your concerns with your doctor.

 

Help Spread Awareness of Ovarian Cancer

The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition conducted a survey to assess women's understanding of ovarian cancer and discovered that 85% of women did not know ovarian cancer's symptoms and that 82% of women had not spoken with their doctors about ovarian cancer. Awareness of ovaria
n cancer's subtle symptoms is an important key to earlier detection until there is an accurate early detection test for this silent disease. Below are some suggestions on how you can help spread awareness of ovarian cancer.

 

· Share this article with your friends, on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media.

 

· Organize an Awareness event – The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition has trained speakers who will present its "Ovarian Health… What every Woman Should Know." This brief presentation can be given to groups of any size and can be made at the work place, clubs, health fairs, churches, or other special events. For more information or to arrange a presentation, call 1-888-OVARIAN (1-888-682-7426) or email nocc@ovarian.org.

 

· Get your School Involved – Sign up for a Team Molly awareness kit. Team Molly is an education effort, which bears the name of a brave young woman and all-star athlete, Molly Eisenberg, who lost her battle with ovarian cancer at just 19 years of age. Although ovarian cancer is less common in young women, it does happen. The goal of the Ovarian Cancer Awareness coalition is to educate both young women and their mothers and grandmothers, who are more at risk.

 

· Share Information at the Office – The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance offers Downloadable Fact Sheets to share at the office, awareness events, or with your friends.

 

· Send an Email – The NOCC offers a pass-along email message to the women you care about. The message you send out today, may save a life tomorrow.

 

 

References:
Ovarian Cancer National Alliance
National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

 

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