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Houston Fertility Journal

September Is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

[fa icon="calendar"] Sep 13, 2017 2:00:35 PM / by Center of Reproductive Medicine   

Center of Reproductive Medicine

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About 21,980 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year. You may not have known, but September is a month that the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition has specifically dedicated to spreading national ovarian cancer awareness.

The NOCC’s awareness campaign focuses on sharing knowledge of the symptoms, genetic disposition, and how many are depriving themselves of early detection by paying a regular visit to the doctor. The lack of awareness around the nation is tragic, and the NOCC has done an amazing work getting their message heard.

The reality is, in most cases of diagnosis, women have already reached stage 3 of ovarian cancer. This is the 5th leading cause of death among women today. If more women were aware of the risk they face, many lives could be saved.

Join us while we gain our own awareness and learn how to get the word out to the people who could be at risk.

Signs & Symptoms

If you have not spoken to your doctor about ovarian cancer or been examined, you should do so. Symptoms are usually very subtle or not telling enough to diagnose on your own. The most common symptoms found are:

  • bloating
  • pelvic or abdominal pain
  • lack of appetite or feeling full quickly
  • the urgency to urinate or doing so frequently

Other symptoms that may occur include:

  • indigestion, gas, nausea, constipation, or diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • back aches

Your Doctor’s Visit

Getting examined by your doctor may be intimidating for you. If you find a gynecologist that you feel comfortable with it will be a lot easier. Every woman should have a doctor that they can trust and feel safe with. When it comes to ovarian cancer diagnosis, your doctor will most likely require that you undergo:

  • a physical exam
  • a pelvic exam
  • a blood test
  • an ultrasound
  • and a biopsy

The Different Stages

Ovarian cancer has 4 stages. Each stage will require a different type of treatment. The 4 stages include:

Stage 1: The cancer solely resides in the ovaries

Stage 2: The cancer is located in 1 or both of the ovaries and has spread to other organs in the pelvic region such as the bladder, colon, rectum, or uterus

Stage 3: The cancer is located in 1 or both of the ovaries and has spread to either the abdomen or the lymph nodes

Stage 4: The cancer is located in 1 or both of the ovaries and has spread to the liver or the lungs

Who Is At Risk

Every woman, no matter their age or race, is at risk. However, there are some women who may have a greater chance of developing ovarian cancer. Such women usually have:

  • a family history of ovarian or breast cancer
  • a personal history of cancer
  • aged over 55 years
  • never been pregnant
  • used menopausal hormone replacement therapy

Spread Awareness

The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition is working to “educate communities and increase awareness about the symptoms of ovarian cancer.” Their organization provides support to newly diagnosed patients, family members, and survivors. If you would like to find a local chapter of the NOCC or learn more about how you can help spread awareness, visit ovarian.org or ovariancancerawareness.org

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Topics: Awareness Month

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