Ovarian Cancer up Close
Every September, the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance recognizes “30 Days of Teal” to help raise awareness of the often deadly disease during National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
The symptoms of ovarian cancer – bloating, feeling full quickly, urinary frequency, backaches, fatigue and nausea –can be subtle or easily mistaken for other things, which is why ovarian cancer often goes untreated until the disease has spread to the pelvis and abdomen. While the five-year survival rate is currently less than 50 percent, when ovarian cancer is found early, that figure jumps to 94 percent, according to the National Cancer Institute.
“The warning signs are often more subtle than they are for other forms of cancer, which is why it’s so important to pay attention to any shifts or changes in your body or how you feel. You should never worry about making a call to your doctor to discuss what’s going on,” said Dr. Jewelia Wagner. “In recognition of national Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, September is all about education, recognition and wellness.”
Risk factors include family history and genetics, advancing age, reproductive history (starting menstruation before age 12, infertility, not giving birth, first child after 30, menopause after 50, never taking oral contraceptives) and obesity. Surgery and chemotherapy are generally used to treat ovarian cancer.