Fortunately, the rate of diagnosis for ovarian cancer has fallen (albeit slowly) for the past two decades. This is excellent news, and progress should be acknowledged, but for the more than 22,400 women who will receive an ovarian cancer diagnosis in 2017, there is certainly still room for improvement.
Even more, 14,000 of those women will die from ovarian cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.
September is ovarian cancer awareness month, an ideal time for women to become familiar with the risk factors of ovarian cancer and symptoms of the disease, and to learn when they need to discuss concerns with their PGOMG provider.
Early awareness across cancers is a proven lifesaving method, and ovarian cancer awareness is certainly included in these efforts.
Who is at risk for ovarian cancer?
- Women age 60 and older
- Women with a personal or family history of cancer, most specifically ovarian, breast or colon cancer
- Women who have experienced infertility, or the inability to conceive and successfully carry a pregnancy and deliver a baby
- Women who carry the BRCA gene
What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer?
Because a woman’s ovaries are located within her abdominal cavity, symptoms can be hidden or difficult to detect. This can make early detection of ovarian cancer challenging. Women are asked to be familiar with ovarian cancer symptoms and risk factors (noted above) so they will be able to speak with their provider from the moment a concern arises.
Main symptoms of ovarian cancer include:
- Pelvic and/or abdominal pain
- Consistent bloating
- Frequent urination
- Change in appetite (difficulty eating, feeling full quickly, unintended weight loss)
- Changes to your menstrual cycle
- Back pain
When should I talk to PGOMG?
If you exhibit any or a combination of the above symptoms for more than two weeks, or are at a high risk for ovarian cancer, please contact PGOMG to request an appointment. Your provider can discuss your symptoms and/or risk factors to determine whether screening is required. We encourage patients to reach out as soon as possible, and to not put off or ignore their concerns. Early detection is essential for saving lives and contributes to a higher quality of life.