Ovarian Cancer is the deadliest of gynecologic cancers in the United States. It will strike over 22,000 women this year and nearly half of them will not survive. An estimated 14,000 American women will die from it in 2018.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Although these symptoms are vague, the following signs should not be ignored if persistent and last for more than 2 weeks:
- Gastrointestinal complaints that are persistent and unexplained such as gas, nausea or indigestion
- Pelvic and/or abdominal swelling and/or pain; feeling of fullness or bloating
- Unexplained change in bowel habits
- Unexplained weight gain or loss
- Frequency and/or urgency of urination
- New unexplained abnormal postmenopausal bleeding
OVARIAN CANCER whispers ...... So LISTEN!
- Increasing age, highest occurrence in women over 50
- Family/personal history of ovarian, breast, endometrial, or colon cancer (10% of cases)
- Uninterrupted ovulation, i.e., no pregnancies or infertility
- Presence of BRCA1 Or BRCA2 gene mutations
- Using oral contraceptives for more than five years can reduce a woman's risk by approximately 50%
- Multiple pregnancies, breast feeding
- Removal of the ovaries and tubal ligation may somewhat reduce risk
A woman should receive an annual rectal and vaginal pelvic examination and a dialogue should be established between a woman and her doctor about ovarian cancer. Further tests can be performed if irregularities are detected. These include a CA-125 blood test and a transvaginal sonogram.
A PAP TEST DETECTS CERVICAL CANCER BUT NOT OVARIAN CANCER.
There is no early detection test for this disease and until one is discovered, remember that you are your best advocate!
Know Your Body, Save Your Life!
Source: American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute,
Ovarian Cancer National Alliance and The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, Inc.