Breakthrough Patient Recruitment

: Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Online Media Specialist

As we come to the end of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, it's important to continue raising awareness about risks, symptoms, testing and treatments.

 Overian Cancer Awareness

Too few women understand their inherent risk-level for ovarian cancer, and what could possibly increase their risk of getting it. Having a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, or inheriting the BRCA1 or BRCA1 genetic mutations can greatly increase a person's likelihood of developing ovarian cancer. According to Cancer.org, the risk of developing ovarian cancer gets higher with age. Ovarian cancer is rare in women younger than 40 and half of all ovarian cancers are found in women 63 years of age or older.

Consumersafety.org encourages those with ovaries to know the symptoms to be able to detect signs of ovarian cancer early-on, possibly allowing for more treatment options.

Symptoms can include:

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
  • Feeling the need to urinate urgently or often
  • Fatigue
  • Upset stomach
  • Back pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Constipation or menstrual changes

 

Read more about symptoms and their detection here.

There are two tests that are most often used to screen for ovarian cancer: transvaginal ultrasounds (TVUS) and the CA-125 blood test. Both tests can be helpful in detecting the early stages of ovarian cancer, but more often than not, lead to more testing. According to the American Cancer Society, no major medical or professional organization recommends the routine use of TVUS or CA-125 blood test to screen for ovarian cancer, and reserves its use for patients already known to be at high risk. It's not clear whether these tests for screening lowers chances of dying from ovarian cancer, but better ways of screening are currently being researched.

The good news is that you can also get tested for genetic mutations linked to ovarian cancer at your primary care physician, local cancer clinic, or your gynecologist's office. Patients with a high risk, such as immediate family members having ovarian cancer, can typically have their tests' costs covered by insurance.

Around 20% of ovarian cancers can be found at an early stage. Research shows that if ovarian cancer is found at a localized stage, about 94% of patients can live longer than 5 years after diagnoses. Routine pelvic exams can help detect it at an early stage, but most early ovarian tumors are difficult or impossible for examiners to feel during a routine exam.

The challenges to detecting ovarian cancer in its early stages put even more importance on making sure women know their risk level and testing options. So, as we turn the page on September, please continue spreading awareness to family and friends to keep up the fight against ovarian cancer.

 Overian Cancer Awareness 2

Other sources: http://www.ovariancancerawareness.org/, https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/ovarian/index.htm, https://www.consumersafety.org/products/talcum-powder/, https://ocrfa.org/patients/about-ovarian-cancer/treatment/staging-and-grading/stage-1/, https://www.cancer.gov/types/ovarian

 

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