The Other ‘O’
September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
In 2009, approximately 21,550 women in the United States will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and 14,500-15,000 of them will lose their lives to this silent killer. Unfortunately, because the signs and symptoms can be subtle, many women do not seek help until the cancer has spread.
Who is at risk of ovarian cancer? Women who
have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer
have a personal history of cancer
are over the age of 45
have never been pregnant
are on menopausal hormone replacement therapy
From OvarianCancerAwareness.org: Ovarian Cancer by the NUMBERS:
What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer?
pelvic pain or swelling
difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
urinary urgency or frequency
nausea, indigestion, gas, constipation, or diarrhea
shortness of breath
How is ovarian cancer diagnosed?
complete physical examination including pelvic exam
How is ovarian cancer treated?
surgery – may include removal of one or both ovaries, fallopian tubes, or a total hysterectomy
What is the prognosis for ovarian cancer?
If caught in the earliest stage, the five-year survival rate is 93 percent. Early diagnosis and treatment is key!
What about research?
More research is needed to develop an early detection test and cure. Although the death rate hasn’t changed in 30 years, federal funding has declined.
What can you do to help?
In 2007, Congress approved Johanna’s Law that awarded three year’s worth of funding to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to increase awareness of the symptoms of gynecologic cancers. But the funding is about to run out.