Cancer of the reproductive organs is an issue that affects all women. Caregivers in senior care services and their elderly adults can join with the rest of the nation in September to try and increase awareness of ovarian cancer. Education about this and all cancers begins at the community level.
Approximately 21,000 women will receive an ovarian cancer diagnoses and 15,000 of them will lose their lives to this disease this year in the United States alone. The goal is to break the silence, ask questions, get educated and informed. If you have any of the symptoms, talk to your doctor immediately. Even though it is one of the most deadly of the cancers related to gynecology, there are survival rates over 90% for early detection and treatment.
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Urinary urgency or urinary frequency
- Difficulty eating or problems of feeling full quickly
Some of the other symptoms may include gas, indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, backaches. When these symptoms are present, and especially if they are concurrent, immediate medical attention should be sought.
Diagnosis may include a physical exam such as the doctor palpating your abdomen to discover tender areas or looking for buildup of abdominal fluid. There may be a pelvic exam, blood test, ultrasound and/or biopsy.
Risk factors for this disease are non-discriminatory. It can strike women of all ages and races. However, there are some risk factors that have been shown to increase a woman’s chances of developing this type of cancer. They include
- Women who are over the age of 55 years.
- Women who never got pregnant.
- Women who had personal histories of cancer.
- Women who have family histories of ovarian or breast cancers.
- Women who take menopausal hormone replacement therapy.
As with all cancers, early detection and immediate treatment are the best way to expect a good outcome. According to the American Cancer Society, common risk factors only partly explain the development of the disease. So far, there is no known way to prevent developing ovarian cancer. More research is required to answer all the questions that still exist about this disease. The best course of action with the current knowledge is to make sure that check-ups are done at the first hint of a problem.