In the United States, ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in women. Each year, more than 22,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and 14,000 die from the disease. Ovarian cancer often goes undetected until it is in an advanced stage. That’s why it’s important for women to be aware of the symptoms of ovarian cancer and to see their doctor if they have any concerns.
In this blog post, we will discuss ovarian cancer prevention and detection methods. We will also provide information on how you can get involved in ovarian cancer awareness month!
What is ovarian cancer and what are the symptoms
Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the ovaries. The ovaries are two small, almond-shaped organs located on each side of the uterus. They are responsible for producing the eggs that are fertilized by sperm to create an embryo. Ovarian cancer usually starts in the cells that line the ovaries.
The most common symptoms of ovarian cancer are:
- Abdominal bloating or swelling
- Quickly feeling full when eating
- Weight loss
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Changes in bowel habits, such as constipation or diarrhea
- Urinary changes, such as having to urinate more frequently or feeling the need to urinate urgently
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor. These symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, but it is important to get them checked out.
What are risk factors for ovarian cancer
There are several factors that may increase your risk of developing ovarian cancer, including:
- Age: The risk of ovarian cancer increases with age. Most cases are diagnosed in women over the age of 60.
- Family history: If you have a family member, such as a mother, sister, or daughter, who has had ovarian cancer, your risk is increased.
- Genetic factors: Certain genetic mutations, such as the BRCA gene, can increase your risk of developing ovarian cancer.
- Obesity: Women who are obese have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.
- Infertility: Women who have difficulty getting pregnant or who have never been pregnant may be at a higher risk.
- Hormone replacement therapy: Taking estrogen and progesterone after menopause may slightly increase your risk.
- Smoking: Women who smoke have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.
How can ovarian cancer be prevented
There is no sure way to prevent ovarian cancer, but there are some things you can do to lower your risk.
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Getting regular exercise
- Eating a healthy diet
- Avoiding tobacco use
- Limiting the use of hormone replacement therapy
- Taking birth control pills. Oral contraceptives (birth control pills) decrease the chance of developing ovarian cancer. The longer you take them, the greater the benefit.
- Getting pregnant. Having a baby reduces your risk of developing ovarian cancer.
- Breastfeeding. Breastfeeding may slightly reduce your risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer is a serious disease that often goes undetected until it is in an advanced stage. That’s why it is important for women to be aware of the symptoms and risk factors associated with ovarian cancer. We hope this article helped to raise awareness about this disease and how it can be prevented.
If you’re looking for an OB/GYN or women’s healthcare office, visit us at WomanCare in IL. We have offices in Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, and more!