What every woman should know...|
Ovarian cancer is a serious and under-recognized threat to women's health.
- Ovarian cancer kills more women than all the Gynecologic Oncology combined.
- Ovarian cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States.
- Ovarian cancer occurs in 1 in 57 women, up from 1 in 70 several years ago.
- Deaths from ovarian have risen. 2004 statistics released from the American Cancer Society show that ovarian cancer deaths have risen by close to 20% over 2003 statistics.
- More than 16,000 women will die this year alone and more than 25,500 will be diagnosed.
Ovarian cancer is very treatable when caught early; the vast majority of cases are not diagnosed until too late.
- When ovarian cancer is caught before it has spread outside the ovaries, 90+% will survive 5 years.
- Only 24% of ovarian cancer is caught early.
- When diagnosed after the disease has spread the chance of five-year survival drops to less than 25%.
Ovarian cancer is difficult to diagnose
- There is no reliable screening test for the early detection of ovarian cancer. The Pap smear only checks for cervical cancer.
- Symptoms are often vague and easily confused with other diseases. However, new studies indicate that ovarian cancer has recognizable symptoms, even early stage disease. Knowing those symptoms can help save women's lives. See:
Raise Your Awareness
Early recognition of symptoms is the best way to save women's lives. Early symptoms include:
- Bloating, a feeling of fullness, gas
- Frequent or urgent urination
- Nausea, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea
- Menstrual disorders, pain during intercourse
- Fatigue, backaches.
Take action if any symptoms last more than 2-3 weeks.
If ovarian cancer is suspected, ask to see a gynecological oncologist.
What You Should Ask Your Doctor
While everyone has these symptoms from time to time, it is important to know your own body and know when something is not right.
If you have these symptoms and they are not normal for you neither you nor your doctor knows why you are having them, then ask to have these important tests to help you rule out ovarian cancer.
- Bimanual pelvic exam
- Ca125 blood test (If it comes back elevated, ask your doctor to repeat this test monthly for several months. If it comes back progressively more elevated each time, even if the values are low, this is an indication that the condition could very likely be serious.)
- Transvaginal ultrasound
Who Has the Greatest Risk?
- Have 2 or more relatives who have had ovarian cancer
- Have a family history of multiple cancers: ovarian, breast or colon cancer
- Were diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 50
- Have a personal history of multiple exposures to fertility drugs
- Are of Ashkenazi Jewish decent
- Have had uninterrupted ovulation (never used birth control pills, or no pregnancies)
- Have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation
- Are over the age of 50
Most women experience one or more of these symptoms from time to time, and only rarely do they indicate ovarian cancer. And remember - if you have ovarian cancer, and it is caught early, survival chances are excellent.
Raise the Awareness of All the Women You Know
Send the Ovarian Cancer Facts and Symptoms sheet to every woman you know by pressing the OvCa Alert button below, downloading this page as a PDF File or printing and mailing it to your friends. By raising awareness, you are helping to save lives.
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