September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and is an opportunity to spread awareness and education about ovarian cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women. The estimates for ovarian cancer in the United States in 2018 are about 22,240 new cases and about 14,070 deaths.
Ovarian cancer usually occurs in women in their fifties and sixties, said Rob Dyar, MD, of Northwest Georgia Women's Care. Other risk factors include weight, genetic mutations such as the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 gene, and family history. Many women don't seek medical help until the disease has begun to spread, but if detected in its earliest stage, the survival rate is optimistically high.
Symptoms of ovarian cancer are subtle and are often confused with other ailments. Symptoms include the following:
Pelvic or abdominal pain
Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
Urinary urgency or frequency
Shortness of breath
Early stage symptoms can be difficult to detect, though are not always silent. As a result, it is important that women listen to their bodies and watch for early symptoms that may present themselves.