Ovarian cancer may be rare, but it is considered one of the deadliest cancers for women since it exhibits no symptoms in its early stages. Fortunately, ovarian cancer is treatable, and knowing more about the disease can help save your life.
Since September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, experts at Women’s Care Florida outlined the following five essential facts about ovarian cancer. Take a few moments to review, and make sure to read the follow-up post in part-two about the common treatments for ovarian cancer.
1. Symptoms of ovarian cancer are vague
Ovarian cancer exhibits common symptoms that could indicate one or more health problems — not just ovarian cancer, specifically. The best way to know if you’re at risk is to pay close attention to your body so you know what’s normal for you, and what isn’t. Make an appointment with your OB-GYN if you’ve been experiencing one or more of the following symptoms consistently every month.
Common symptoms of ovarian cancer include:
- Vaginal bleeding past menopause
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Back pain
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Change in urination frequency and bowel movements
2. Early detection can improve your outcome
Ovarian cancer can be effectively treated and reversed when detected early enough. Common tests that can help detect and diagnose ovarian cancer include ultrasound, CT scan, blood tests, and surgery. Contact your OB-GYN to learn more about whether you should take these tests.
3. Ovarian cancer is associated with certain risk factors
Ovarian cancer can affect any woman, regardless of whether ovarian cancer is part of her family history. Make an appointment to be screened for ovarian cancer if you have any of the following risk factors.
Common risk factors for ovarian cancer include:
- Women who have never been pregnant
- Women who have uninterrupted ovulation due to infertility treatments
- Women who started their period at an early age
- Women who experience menopause later than average
- Women who smoke
4. Surgery can help prevent ovarian cancer
Women at high risk for ovarian cancer can lower their risk substantially by undergoing surgery to have ovaries and fallopian tubes removed. Removing the ovaries can lower ovarian cancer risk by 98 percent, and also lowers the risk for breast cancer. If you are at high risk for ovarian cancer and don’t plan on having more children, talk to your OB-GYN about the possibility of surgery to prevent ovarian cancer.
5. See an ovarian cancer specialist
If you’ve been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, ask your OB-GYN for a referral to an ovarian cancer specialist who can effectively treat your condition. An experienced ovarian cancer specialist can discuss your options for surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and other treatments that can help you overcome and survive cancer.
To learn more about your ovarian cancer risks, contact a specialist at Women’s Care Florida.