Every year, the American Cancer Society dedicates their efforts to the various types of cancers. There are some cancers that garner their own awareness month – ovarian cancer is one of them, and with good reason!
Each year, over 20,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. When found and treated early, women can recover. Unfortunately, however, many women do not find out about the cancer until it is in a later stage. The American Cancer Society believes that with increased awareness and screening, women can prevent the negative consequences of this disease.
Although many of the symptoms of ovarian cancer can be found as symptoms of other diseases women are at risk for, research suggests these four symptoms may be specifically associated with ovarian cancer:
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Difficulty eating – or feeling full quickly while eating
- Urinary urgency or frequency
Keep in mind that you are the one who knows your body best – aside from symptoms; keep these risk factors in mind when considering any signals for ovarian cancer:
- Age – The older a woman is, the more at risk she is
- Obesity – Studies have found that there is a relationship between obesity and cancer; those women who are obese are at a higher risk
- Family history
- Family history of breast cancer
- Personal history of breast cancer
Unfortunately, most women have at least one of the many risk factors for ovarian cancer. However, that does not mean you should panic! There are many practical prevention methods for ovarian cancer. The most significant and important thing you can do is get regular women’s health exams.
- Visit with your OBGYN at least once a year
- Always get your pap smear done annually
- If you feel you are developing symptoms that are not normal, always make your doctor aware
Vaginal ultrasounds are a way that doctors can check the ovaries and uterus and fallopian tubes for irregularities. These can be performed annually and should you feel you are at risk or experiencing symptoms, you should ask your doctor.
You are your body’s biggest advocate – if it seems weird or abnormal to you, say something!