As September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, PGOMG wants to help educate mothers, daughters and grandmothers who visit our practice regarding common risk factors associated with ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is a particularly deceptive form of cancer – it can go undetected until it spreads to other areas of the body, such as the abdomen.
Ovarian cancer becomes more difficult to treat effectively once it spreads from the ovaries, with chemotherapy and surgery being the main tools doctors utilize for treatment.
Knowing your risk level for ovarian cancer is important. Your PGOMG provider should be your first point of outreach when discussing whether you are at risk, if you should be tested for the ovarian cancer gene, and if any symptoms of cancer are present.
We encourage you to contact PGOMG if you have any questions or concerns, we are here to help educate women in order to prevent diseases such as ovarian cancer, and we welcome questions.
Are you at risk?
Certain risk factors can mean you are at elevated risk for ovarian cancer, including but not limited to:
- Genetics (BRCA 1)
- Age – ovarian cancer is most common in women 50-60 years old, but it can occur at any age.
- Tobacco – smoking cigarettes is a known risk for several types of cancer, including ovarian.
- PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)
- Family history of ovarian cancer
- Menstrual history – if you started menstruating before age 12, you may be at risk.
- Lynch Syndrome – a genetic condition.
There are additional risk factors for ovarian cancer, such as certain therapies for menopause or your reproductive history. Your provider can discuss whether your reproductive history or menopause treatment may put you at risk.
In 2014, there were almost 22,000 new cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed in the United States. One in 75 women are at risk for developing ovarian cancer, and survival can greatly depend on how early the cancer is detected (before it spreads). Take the time to reach out to your PGOMG provider to discuss cancer risk and whether you should consider additional testing.