Pink ribbons are everywhere for October’s breast cancer awareness, so why isn’t ovarian cancer just as public? One reason is because, unfortunately, there are fewer survivors. Most ovarian cancer isn’t caught until stage 3, and the five-year survival rate for a stage 3 diagnosis is 39%.
Ovarian cancer is a silent killer. Because the symptoms often mimic a stomach ache and are assumed to be temporary, most women don’t recognize them and go months without seeing a doctor. By the time they are eventually diagnosed (if they even get diagnosed) with the disease, it has often already spread to surrounding organs. I wrote an earlier post here on how ovarian cancer affected my mom and ultimately took her life too soon. Unfortunately, ovarian cancer awareness was minimal when my family needed it the most.
With the help of Sydney at ConsumerSafety.org, this post is being made to get the word out on ovarian cancer so this deadly disease can come to an end.
Here are a few more key statistics about ovarian cancer:
No, pap smears are done to detect cervical cancer.
As of now, there is no definitive screening test for ovarian cancer. However, current helpful screenings are regular pelvic exams, reporting any symptoms early, having a transvaginal ultrasound, or a CA-125 blood test. Unfortunately, the ultrasound and CA-125 blood test are not recommended for diagnosing ovarian cancer. The CA-125 blood test gives too many false readings (and is only used as a screening tool for those diagnosed with ovarian cancer to see if treatment is working), and screening with transvaginal ultrasounds does not reduce the number of deaths caused by this disease.
Unfortunately, they aren’t clear-cut. My mom, who survived two years with ovarian cancer, simply thought she was enduring a stomach ache that wouldn’t go away. Below are some of the most frequently cited symptoms of ovarian cancer:
Obviously, we cannot control all of our risk factors. Many of them are beyond our control. It’s important to carefully consider every health decision you make because it may affect your reproductive health as well.
Here’s some helpful information:
In addition to the infographic above, you can reduce your risk by:
Get the word out to your female friends and family, so they too will learn about ovarian cancer awareness. Learning the symptoms of ovarian cancer can save your life or the life of a loved one. Let’s do everything we can to end this silent, and too often deadly, disease.
Happy (and healthy) Travels!
Many thanks to Sydney at ConsumerSafety.org who helped with this post. Here’s a link ConsumerSafety.org’s charitable cause, Hope for Heather, a 100% volunteer charity, promoting ovarian cancer awareness.
For further information and charitable causes, click on the following links:
ConsumerSafety.org’s informational page on how baby powder has been linked to ovarian cancer
National Ovarian Cancer Coalition
Ovarian Cancer National Alliance
Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance
Deborah pike | 7th Sep 17
Please help. My gp referred me for an ultrasound scan but the hospital refused it saying I didn’t meet their criteria!!! I have every symptom of ovarian cancer. I was treated for a uti and now that’s sorted they don’t want to know. I’m worried sick and my parents said they will pay for private scan but I still need gp referral
Julie | 7th Sep 17
It sounds like you need some answers. You have options. #1- You could talk to your insurance provider, because they are likely the ones telling the hospital that you can’t have the scan since you don’t meet the criteria. Perhaps they will only pay for part of the scan. #2 – You could find another physician for a second opinion. #3 – You should also talk with the billing department at the hospital. If you are going to pay for the scan out of pocket, you should still be able to get it done and have the bill sent home. I understand that you are very concerned. Unfortunately, for you to get the answers that you need, you or your parents will have to do some digging – making phone calls, talking to your insurance, etc. Perhaps you could schedule a visit with a gyne cancer specialist to talk about your symptoms. Maybe your local chapter of an ovarian cancer organization (like NOCC or OCRF) can help. I wish you the best of luck in your journey and sincerely hope that this won’t be the start of a long cancer battle. Keep me updated! -Julie 🙂
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