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.

Ovarian cancer occurs in 1 out of 75 women. The lifetime chance of dying from ovarian cancer is about 1 in 100. Its symptoms are vague, resembling abdominal distress. As a result, the disease often goes undiagnosed.


Currently, there are no effective means of early detection. Only 25% of cases are diagnosed early before the cancer has spread beyond the ovaries. For those 25% of women whose cancer is detected before spreading, the 5-year survival rate is 93%.


Mortality rates for Ovarian Cancer have not improved markedly in the last 40 years. However, other cancers have shown a marked reduction in mortality, due to the availability of early detection tests and improved treatments. Unfortunately, this is not the case with Ovarian Cancer, which is still the deadliest of all gynecologic cancers.


 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!

 
  RISK FACTORS

 
- 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


 
  
PREVENTION

    - 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.