by Angie O’Brien
“I would like to see this disease banished from our society. I would like to see the cure for ovarian cancer as a man who lost a wife and a daughter to the disease.” – Pierce Brosnan
This year alone an estimated 21,500 new cases of ovarian cancer will be reported in the US alone. Ovarian cancer is estimated to kill 14,800 women this year. Unfortunately ovarian cancer has the lowest survival rate of all the gynecological cancers; mostly attributed to the lack of world awareness and the late stages of diagnosis.
- All women are at risk of developing ovarian cancer
- Educating yourself of the early signs of the disease could save your life
- If found early, a woman’s chance of survival is greatly improved
- Unfortunately ovarian cancer is diagnosed at a late stage.
- A routine pap smear will not detect early onset ovarian cancer
- Increased abdominal size/persistent bloating
- Difficulty eating/feeling full quickly
- Abdominal pain or pelvic pain
- Needing to urinate more frequent or urgently
The factors must be discussed with your doctor to determine your individual risk. If you have a family history of ovarian cancer you should discuss that with your doctor. Genetic testing is available to determine if you have a change in your gene structure either in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. These two gene structure mutations have proven to make the patient more susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer. There is currently no reliable screening method for ovarian cancer. Your doctor can perform a complete pelvic exam, pelvic ultrasound, and or a CA-125 blood test.
In 2014, President Obama proclaimed September as National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Read the press release here. http://www.whyteal.org/wp-content/uploads/PresidentialProclamationOC2014.pdf
Throughout September, there are many ways to educate others and support the cause. Participate in Run/Walks nationwide, dress and decorate in teal, learn the signs, symptoms, and risk factors of ovarian cancer and use social media to share information and images to potentially save a life.