Ovarian Cancer and You

KEY SYMPTOMS OF OVARIAN CANCER:

  • Pelvic or abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Frequency and/or urgency of urination in absence of an infection
  • Pelvic and/or abdominal bloating
  • Persistent feeling of fullness

OTHER SYMPTOMS INCLUDE:

  • Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
  • Pelvic and/or abdominal swelling, bloating and/or feeling of fullness
  • Ongoing unusual fatigue
  • Unexplained changes in bowel habits

RISK FACTORS:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Personal or family history of breast, ovarian or colon cancer
  • Increasing age
  • Undesired infertility

FACTS:

  • All women are at risk.
  • Symptoms do exist and can be extremely vague, yet increase over time.
  • Early detection increases survival rate of early stage disease.
  • A Pap Smear DOES NOT detect ovarian cancer.
  • All women should see their gynecologist for a pelvic examination every year to check for ovarian, uterine and cervical cancer.
  • Ovarian Cancer is the 5th leading cause of death among women in the United States and most deadly of the gynecologic cancers. 1 out of 55 women will get Ovarian Cancer.
  • Ovarian Cancer is difficult to diagnose because symptoms may be subtle and easily confused with other ailments.
  • There is no single reliable screening test, however a CA125 blood test is recommended.
  • With early detection, before spreading beyond the ovaries, more than 90% will survive longer than 5 years. Less than 20% of women are diagnosed in the early stages.
  • Overall, 5 year survival rate for women with Ovarian Cancer is 35%-49%. 50% will die within 5 years.
  • When diagnosed in stages III or IV, the chance of 5 year survival is less than 40%.
  • The American Cancer Society estimates there will be 22,200 new cases of Ovarian Cancer per year and 16,200 women will die of Ovarian Cancer.
  • If Ovarian Cancer is suspected, see a gynecological oncologist who specializes in women’s cancers, especially if any symptoms persist for more than 2 weeks.
  • A pelvic exam, transvaginal ultrasound and a CAl25 blood test are recommended.

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