Monday, September 21, 2015

September: National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Am I at Risk For Ovarian Cancer?
Every woman is at risk of developing ovarian cancer.  Because there are no early detection tests, many women are diagnosed when the disease is in advanced stage.   A woman’s risk of getting ovarian cancer during her lifetime is about 1 in 75. A woman’s lifetime chance of dying from ovarian cancer is about 1 in 100.   Early diagnosis is the key to survival.

What is Ovarian Cancer?
Ovarian cancer begins in the ovaries.  Ovaries are the female sex organs that produce eggs and make the hormones estrogen and progesterone.  It accounts for 3% cancers among women, but causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.
Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer
  • Family history of ovarian cancer
  • Age - Average age of diagnosis is 63
  • More common after menopause and using hormone therapy may increase risk.
  •  Obesity
  • Reproductive history – women who have been pregnant and carried it to term before age 26 have a lower risk of ovarian cancer than women who have not.

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Feeling of pressure in abdomen
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling satiated quickly when eating. 

Prevention Strategies
  • Pregnancy – women who had never given birth are more likely to develop ovarian cancer than those who have biological children
  • Breastfeeding
  • Birth control pills
  • Tubal ligation (tied tubes) or hysterectomy
  • Removal of ovaries
  • Diet
  • Increase intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • Decrease intake of fat
  • Minimize intake of cured, pickled and smoked foods
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise.

Screening tests
  • Only recommended for women at high risk
  • Ultrasound of the ovaries
  • Measurement of levels of protein called CA-125 in the blood.

  • Sampling of the ovarian tissue (biopsy)

American Cancer Society.
Foundation for Women’s Cancer.

Bola Sijuwade, RN, RHIA, CPHRM, BSN, MS
I am a Registered Nurse and I have been in the health care field in both clinical practice and health education for over thirty years.  I have a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing and Health Information Management and a Master’s degree in Health Care Administration.  I am currently a doctoral candidate in the Health Studies department at Texas Woman’s University.

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