Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer among women causing 15,000 deaths a year.(Source: Ovarian Cancer Awareness)Ovarian cancer is difficult to detect and could often be fatal when detected too late. If diagnosed at an early stage, the five-year survival rate is more than 93 percent. The cause is unknown but there are some factors that could increase your risk. Taking oral contraceptive, giving birth and breast feeding are a few ways to reduce your risk of ovarian cancer.
Ovarian Cancer Risk factors Certain risk factors may increase your risk or ovarian cancer. Having one or more of the risk factors does not mean that you will develop it, but your risk is higher than the average woman. These risk factors include the following:
- Not giving birth
- Giving birth at a late age
- Mutations in the genes BRCA1 or BRCA2
- Women who have had breast cancer or have a family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer
- Women who take estrogen replacement for five or more years
- Older women
Ovarian Cancer Symptoms The most common symptoms for ovarian cancer are hard to classify and are often symptoms to other diseases, so by the time cancer is diagnosed the tumor has often spread. Some symptoms for ovarian cancer are as follows:
- Difficulty eating
- Pelvic of lower abdominal pain
- Abnormal menstrual cycles
- Digestive symptoms
- Increased gas
- Lack of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Back pain
- Vaginal bleeding
- Weight gain or loss
- Sudden urge to urinate
If you are encountering any of these symptoms, notify your doctor as soon as possible.
Ovarian Cancer Treatment Treatment for ovarian cancer usually involves a combination of surgery and chemotherapy.
- Bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of other ovaries and fallopian tubes
- Examination, biopsy, or removal of the lymph nodes and other tissues in the pelvis and abdomen
- Radiation therapy
To learn more about ovarian cancer and ovarian cancer treatments available in the mid-Carolina’s visit nccancercenter.org. The FirstHealth oncology clinic in Pinehurst specializes in ovarian cancer treatment and therapy services for patients in the Sanford, Raeford, Rockingham, Laurinburg, Lumberton, and Troy regions of North Carolina and beyond.