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INFORMATION ABOUT OVARIAN CANCER
The ovaries are located in the pelvis, and are the female reproductive glands. Ovarian cancer is a disease that causes the ovarian cells to grow uncontrollably and atypically, producing malignant or benign tumors in one or both ovaries. It is the 5th leading cause of death in women who die of cancer. Ovarian cancer is sometimes the cause or result of metastasis or the spread of other cancers in the body.
What you need to know about Ovarian Cancer
Women’s best bets in the fight against ovarian cancer, is early detection. It is difficult to detect symptoms in the early phases, because it is easier to find when it has already grown to advanced stages. You should visit your obstetrician/gynecologist at least once a year and run tests so any possible signs can be detected right away. There are certain risk factors involved, which increase a woman’s chances of developing ovarian cancer. These are:
1. Heredity and previous cancers in the family. If one or more persons in your immediate family have had ovarian, breast, rectum or colon cancer, this is a major risk factor in your chances of developing ovarian cancer.
2. Age. Women over 50 have a higher chance of developing ovarian cancer.
3. Number of children. Studies have shown that as women have more children, their chance of developing ovarian cancer has decreased. So having no children or no pregnancies would increase the risk as well.
4. Race and descent. It has been found that Jewish women, especially the younger population, have a larger risk of cancers such as breast and ovarian cancer. This is due to the fact that the race possesses genetic mutations that increase the risk of the cancers.
Aside from annual check ups with your doctor, awareness is the most important tool you can use in preventing ovarian cancer. Be wary of the symptoms, and listen to your body. Since the signs of ovarian cancer can easily be confused for something normal, it is best to study the pains, and together with awareness, meet with your doctor.
Below are symptoms of ovarian cancer that you should watch out for especially if they are consistent and if you have not normally experienced them before:
1. Your abdomen seems to have an increased size, or is bloated. You may feel as if the bloated feeling is due to the need to pass gas, or urination.
2. Pelvic pain; or irritations and pain during sexual intercourse.
Other symptoms of ovarian cancer are hard to detect because they seem like normal pains, or unrelated to the pelvic area and are experienced by both those who have ovarian cancer and those who don’t. These are back pains, fatigue, menstrual disorders and pain, or easily getting full from eating.