Ovarian cancer is one of the top five most deadly forms of cancer, but early detection and treatment can drastically improve your odds.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer for American women, but it is equally important to pay attention to another, more difficult-to-detect form of cancer: ovarian. Ovarian cancer is one of the top ten most common cancers and one of the top five most deadly for women. You have to pay attention to your body as many of the symptoms, such bloating, abdominal swelling, and pelvic pressure, can be caused by other conditions as well. Early detection of ovarian cancer could save your life. By knowing these ovarain cancer facts and figures, you will be able to better decide when the time is right to schedule an ovarian cancer screening in Little Rock.
Early Treatment is the Most Effective
Ovarian cancer kills more than 14,000 American women every year. Detecting ovarian cancer in its early stages gives your medical team an advantage, and gives your body better odds at responding to the latest ovarian cancer treatments. Symptoms of ovarian cancer include back pain, pelvic pain or pressure, unusual bathroom habits, abnormal vaginal discharge, and post-menopausal or abnormal vaginal bleeding – a sign you need an immediate medical exam. If you notice these symptoms for more than two weeks, schedule an appointment with your gynecologist in Little Rock. Ovarian cancer screening methods include blood tests, pelvic exams, and ultrasounds to rule out or detect traces of the disease.
Breast Cancer Genes Increase Your Ovarian Cancer Risk
The breast cancer genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, are actually genetic mutations that dramatically increase your risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. If you find out you have one of these mutations, prophylactic surgery may be an option. Angelina Jolie, who carries BRCA1, made headlines when she announced her preventive double mastectomy in 2013 and encouraged women with genetic histories to seek out screenings. Two years later, she detailed her elective oophorectomy, which removed her ovaries and fallopian tube to eliminate her ovarian cancer risks. Songwriter Kara DioGuardi also chose to remove her ovaries and breasts because of her increased genetic risks. The gene BRCA2 gave her a 30% chance of developing ovarian cancer and an 80% chance of developing breast cancer.
Your Ovarian Cancer Risks Increase After Age 40
Ovarian cancer is rare for women under the age of 40, but the fifth most fatal cancer is much more common among older women. Most ovarian cancer develops after menopause and about half the cases occur after age 60. Of course, age is not the only determining factor for increased risk of ovarian cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reaching middle age is one of many ovarian cancer risk factors:
- Birth Control: If you use oral contraceptives, you have a lower risk for ovarian cancer, but it can increase your risk for other types of cancer including cervical and breast cancer.
- Hormone Replacement Therapy: Used to treat post-menopausal symptoms, hormone replacement therapy has been linked with an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
- Obesity: If you are overweight with a body-mass index over 30, you will have a higher chance of developing ovarian cancer
If your female family members have had ovarian cancer – or you have had colorectal, uterine, or breast cancer – then you should discuss the potential risk with your gynecologist. Early detection is your best defense against reproductive cancers.
If you are interested in an ovarian cancer screening in Little Rock, contact the Woman’s Clinic at (501) 664-4131 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced, compassionate gynecologists.