In the midst of everything else going on in September (back to school, fall sales, etc.), it’s important to take some time and think about your health. Especially since September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
Even though you probably hear a lot more about other types of cancer, the American Cancer Society actually ranks ovarian cancer fifth in cancer deaths among women. Over 20,000 women are diagnosed with it each year and 15,000 women die from the disease (all of these statistics can be found on the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition website – www.ovarian.org).
One thing you might be wondering is what are the risk factors for ovarian cancer? Getting older, genetic predisposition, and personal family history are all pieces that may play a part in whether or not these cells ever develop.
Let’s also talk about some of the symptoms. If you experience any of the these things daily for more than two weeks, the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition says it could be time to see a doctor:
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
- Feeling the need to urinate urgently or often
Some other symptoms include fatigue, upset stomach or heartburn, back pain, pain during sex, or constipation or menstrual changes.
Now ovarian cancer rates are highest in women aged 55-64, but 3.7% of the new cases between 2007 and 2011 were in women between the ages of 20 and 34 (Ovarian Cancer National Alliance), so this is still something every woman should know a little bit about. Also, there is no known method for preventing this form of cancer and, because there is no early detection test, most cases aren’t discovered until the later stages when the chances of survival are much lower.
Before you get too worried, just know that (according to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance) a woman’s lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer is 1 in 72. The risk of dying from it is 1 in 100. The American Cancer Society even says there are things you can do to help reduce your risk of cancer and other diseases. Eating right, being active, and maintaining a healthy weight are just a few of the steps you can take now that may become a lifesaver in the future. So take September as an opportunity to start exploring new ways to keep your health on the right track.
Credits: Ed Uthman