Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month: Silent Symptoms

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month: Silent Symptoms

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, one of the most deadly of women’s cancers. With almost 80 % of women diagnosed in advanced stages of ovarian cancer, when prognosis is poor, we know that more needs to be done to spread awareness of this horrible disease that will take the lives of nearly 14,000 women this year. There is no adequate screening of ovarian cancer. Pioneer Memorial Hospital & Health Services encourages women get their routine check-ups, as symptom awareness may be lifesaving!

Ovarian cancer is not a Silent Killer:

Studies have shown that ovarian cancer is not silent. Rather, the warning signs are subtle. Four symptoms have been proven to occur more often in females with ovarian cancer as compared to those in the general public. If any of these symptoms are new and unusual and occur at least 12 times in one month, then women should see their medical provider:

  • Abdominal bloating or swelling

  • Quickly feeling full when eating

  • Weight less

  • Discomfort in the pelvis area

  • Changes in bowel habits, such as constipation

  • A frequent need to urinate

Factors That May Decrease and Increase the Risk of Ovarian Cancer:

Factors which may decrease the risk of ovarian cancer include: oral contraceptive use, removal of fallopian tubes and/or ovaries, and breastfeeding.

Factors that may increase the risk of ovarian cancer:

  • Personal or family history of ovarian, breast, uterine, or colorectal cancer. Approximately 20% of ovarian cancer is hereditary. Any female who has been diagnosed with a form of ovarian cancer shoul

  • Increased number of menstrual cycles in a lifetime (never had children, late menopause, etc.)

  • Infertility, regardless of whether fertility drugs were used

  • Use of hormone replacement therapy

  • Increasing age

  • Obesity

Why Symptom Awareness is Key

Due to the lack of an early detection test, only 15-20% of ovarian cancer is detected early. In 2021 in the United States, it is estimated there will be 21,750 new cases of ovarian cancer and 13,940 women will die from the disease.

Until There’s a Test, Awareness is Best

Early detection of cancer is vital. Since there is no screening test for ovarian cancer, symptom awareness is key. Anna Husman, CNP at the Parker Medical Clinic said, “It is important to know your body and know the symptoms. If you have a family history of ovarian cancer make an appointment to discuss screening options with your provider, in addition remember early detection is key, so continue to have yearly wellness exams.” Take time this month to schedule an appointment with one of our providers to discuss your risks and symptoms by calling (605) 326-5201.

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