While one of the less common cancers, ovarian cancer is still diagnosed to 1 in 78 women.
Just as it sounds, this disease develops in the ovaries, which are the female reproductive organs responsible for producing eggs and female hormones.
Diagnosing Ovarian Cancer
For many types of cancer, screening tests help us detect the disease early. For example, a mammogram can often detect breast cancer in its earliest stage, even before a doctor can feel the cancer.
Unfortunately, ovarian cancer is different.
There is no screening test for ovarian cancer and the symptoms of early ovarian cancer are often vague.
Typical symptoms of ovarian cancer, such as fatigue, bloating, pelvic pain, or difficulty urinating, don't usually appear until the cancer has already advanced.
Preventing Ovarian Cancer
There are many different types of Ovarian Cancer, but there are several ways you can reduce your risk of developing the most common type of ovarian cancer, epithelial ovarian cancer.
Some risk factors for ovarian cancer, like getting older or having a family history, cannot be changed. Still, you might be able to lower your risk by staying a healthy weight, eating healthy foods, and taking birth control pills! Using oral contraceptives (birth control pills) decreases the risk of developing ovarian cancer for average risk women and BRCA mutation carriers, especially among women who use them for several years.
According to the American Cancer Society, women who use oral contraceptives for 5 or more years have about a 50% lower risk of developing ovarian cancer compared with women who never used oral contraceptives.
If you have any questions or concerns about your ovaries, or your risk of other reproductive health cancer, please schedule an appointment to see your clinician today. A trauma-informed pelvic exam by one of our trained clinicians and a pelvic ultrasound can give you answers regarding the health of your ovaries.
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