September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month 2017

September 2017 is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

It is a month devoted to raising funds for awareness, education, support, and research for this number one cause of gynecologic cancer deaths in women.

According to the American Cancer Society, a woman’s risk of getting ovarian cancer, or tumors in the ovaries, in her lifetime is approximately 1 in 75.

Facts About Ovarian Cancer

Every 23 minutes, a woman is diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the United States; that averages to around 22,000 women a year diagnosed with this disease. According to the National Cancer Institute, only 44% of women survive 5 years or more after being diagnosed. 14,000 women die each year from ovarian cancer ranking 5th in cancer deaths among women.

Early Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

  • Bloating or an increase in abdominal size 
  • Changes in appetite, such as a loss of appetite or feeling full sooner 
  • Pelvic or lower back pressure 
  • Frequent urination or constipation 
  • Changes in bowel movements 
  • Menstruation changes 
  • Nausea, indigestion or vomiting 
  • Fatigue or low levels of energy

Ovarian cancer is often referred to as a silent killer because the early symptoms of ovarian cancer are few, vague and very easily dismissed as something else.

Who is most at risk for Developing Ovarian Cancer

As women age past forty years of age and reach post-menopause, the chances of developing ovarian cancer increase. Other risk factors that boost a woman’s chances include a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, genetic mutations such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, history with other types of cancer, including breast, uterine, or colorectal cancer, and women with endometriosis.

Some lifestyle choices that could increase a woman’s risk include cigarette smoking, diet, and obesity. Medical studies have also linked ovarian cancer to the use of talc-based baby powder by women.

Screening for ovarian cancer is crucial for women at high risk as early detection can help catch tumors early before they spread, thereby increasing their chance at long-term survival.

What Women can do to lower their chances of developing this cancer

Remove harmful substances from your life that have been known to increase your risk of ovarian cancer. This includes not using baby powder near the vagina, quitting cigarette smoking, including distancing yourself from secondhand smoke, limiting alcohol intake, and removing fatty or unhealthy foods from your diet. Instead, eat foods rich in vitamin A, D, E, and omega-3 fatty acids to maintain a healthy body weight. Pregnancy, breastfeeding, and the use of oral contraceptives is also believed to help lower the risk of getting ovarian cancer.

Only 15% of this type of cancer are diagnosed at stage one, and unfortunately it is much harder to successfully treat ovarian cancer once it has advanced.

It is vital that women are empowered to know the possible signs and symptoms of this disease and be aware of the things they can do to help lower their risk.

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@2023 All Rights Reserved.