September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Like every awareness month, we should always be wary of a disease like cancer, not just for a month but for the entire year. Ovarian cancer has been deemed “the silent killer” because symptoms do not arise until the cancer has begun to spread. Below, I have provided some basic facts so that you or someone you know can get checked and possibly treated before it becomes too late.
Ovarian cancer starts in the ovaries of women. Each year, approximately 21,980 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. This cancer often goes undetected until it spreads throughout the pelvis and abdomen. When this occurs, the cancer is more difficult to treat and is often fatal because it becomes metastatic. The later stages are usually associated with symptoms such as:
- Pain in the abdomen or pelvis
- Bloating, change in bowel habits, indigestion, nausea
- Lump in the abdomen
- Cancer-related fatigue or loss of appetite
- In other words, fatigue is closely associated with cancer. With any type of cancer, weight loss and fatigue are extremely common symptoms and can be a telling factor when combined with the other symptoms listed.
Prevention is key.
- If your family history indicates that you may be a high-risk candidate for ovarian cancer, genetic counseling and testing is another option for prevention. Locate your local genetic counselor’s office and schedule an appointment today.
- Yearly appointments with your gynecologist are essential in preventing cancer. Speak with your doctor about oral contraceptives and other options for reducing your risk of ovarian cancer.
I urge you and your loved ones to commit to yearly check-ups, as well as paying close attention to signals from your body. For more information on ways to prevent cancer, you can visit the CDC here.
Have you had an experience with ovarian cancer you would like to share? I would love to hear your story below. Play your part in the war against cancer and commit to being informed.
Remember, no one is immune to pain, but anyone can overcome it.