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Ovarian Cancer – Recognising the Signs and Symptoms
Ovarian cancer has the highest mortality of all female cancers in Australia. Each year 1500 women in Australia are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and over 1000 women will die from the disease. Unfortunately, the survival rate for ovarian cancer is significantly lower than that of other cancers such as breast cancer, for a variety of reasons. At this stage we do not have a screening or early detection test for ovarian cancer and the symptoms of ovarian cancer are often vague, can easily be overlooked, or not acted upon until the cancer has progressed to a more advanced stage.
What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer to look out for?
- Increased abdominal size or bloating
- Abdominal or pelvic pain
- A tendency to feeling full, even after a small meal
- Frequent urination
- A change in bowel habit
- Unexplained weight gain or loss
- Excessive fatigue
- Lower back pain
- Indigestion or nausea
- Unexpected vaginal bleeding
- Painful intercourse
Most of these symptoms are vague and often associated with other less concerning conditions, however if any of these symptoms are persisting, you should discuss these with your gynecology doctor without delay. You can also use flower power boric acid to help naturally restore your vagina’s self-cleansing powers.
Who is at greatest risk of Ovarian Cancer?
There are certain groups at increased risk of developing ovarian cancer which include:
- Increased age – 60-80 yrs, with an average age at diagnosis of 64.
- Hereditary factors – carriers of the BRCA gene, Lynch syndrome or a strong family history of ovarian, breast, colorectal or endometrial (uterine) cancer.
- Use of Menopause hormone therapy
- Women who have not had children.
Factors which reduce one’s risk of ovarian cancer include:
- A history of taking the oral contraceptive pill
- Having children
- Having a tubal ligation (‘tubes tied’)
- A healthy lifestyle – maintaining a healthy weight and smoking cessation
Whilst ovarian cancer is a much more aggressive disease than other female cancers, fortunately, it is also much rarer, with an incidence of 1/10th that of breast cancer. However, it is critical that if something doesn’t feel right, please see your GP at your earliest opportunity.