Would you know if you had ovarian cancer? Learn about this rare, yet deadly cancer.
The ovaries are about the size of an almond. With that in mind, would you be able to detect a change in this small, yet important reproductive organ?
Ovarian cancer will likely affect a little more than 22,000 women this year and more than 14,000 will die from the disease. The truth is ovarian cancer is difficult to detect because the symptoms could be misread as other ailments. The common symptoms include:
- Pain or discomfort in the lower part of the abdomen
- Frequent urination
- Sudden weight gain or loss
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Lack of energy
Screening is difficult
In its early stages, ovarian cancer is hard to detect. Your gynecologist is not like to find tumors during routine pelvic exams. As discussed before you may not realize the symptoms are related to ovarian cancer.
Who's at risk?
Risk factors have been identified for ovarian cancer and include:
- Age – 50 years or older
- Family history – especially if your mother, sister or daughter has been diagnosed
- Not birthing a child or not giving birth until after age 30
- Personal history of breast cancer or endometrial cancer
If you have certain risk factors for ovarian cancer, your doctor may recommend a transvaginal ultrasound to check for tumors. Another possible diagnostic test is a blood screening to measure the level of the protein CA-125, which is often elevated in women with ovarian cancer.
It is important to inform your doctor of your family history of cancer. If you are suffering from symptoms lasting more than a couple weeks, talk to your doctor. Learn more about the Cancer Care services offered at Regional. To have our health questions answered for a physician referral, call our free Consult-A-Nurse® services at 1-888-741-5119.