I am *incredibly* fortunate. After a very long and very rough 2015, I am alive today and able to warn you about the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, and what to do if you suspect you or a woman you love might have it.
First, here are some numbers:
- Ovarian Cancer is the 5th leading cause of cancer related deaths in women ages 35-74.One in 75 women will develop ovarian cancer in her lifetime.
- hen a woman is diagnosed and treated in the earlier stages (Stages 1 and 2), the 5 year survival rate is over 90%
- When caught in later stages (stage 3 and 4), the survival rate drops to a dismal 28%.
- Due to the very non-specific symptoms of ovarian cancer, and lack of early detection tests, only about 15-20% of cases of ovarian cancer are found in early stages.
Now, for the signs and symptoms:
- Abdominal or lower back pain or discomfort
- Consistent bloat
- Upset stomach or heartburn
- Frequent and or/urgent need to pee
- Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
- Menstrual changes
- Pain during sex
- Weight loss
If you or any woman you love is experiencing these symptoms for more than 2 weeks, please encourage them to get to a doctor ASAP. Make sure you are HEARD by your doctors. *YOU ARE YOUR BEST MEDICAL ADVOCATE*. If you have had breast cancer, or have a family history of breast cancer or colon cancer, you are at a higher risk for developing ovarian cancer. Women with the BRCA genetic mutation have up to a 70% chance of developing ovarian cancer.
If you suspect that you have ovarian cancer, or if it runs in your family, your doctor can perform a blood test called the CA-125. The CA-125 is a simple blood test that measures the cancer antigen protein in your blood and is used to monitor early signs of ovarian cancer. The CA-125 is not an absolute test, but can help to support doctor's suspicions. If you are suspected to have ovarian cancer, make sure to consult with a gyn-oncologist, as they are the best prepared to monitor and know the specifics of what to look for during surgery.
Please take note, spread the awareness and share the symptoms. It could literally save a woman’s life. There are no early detection tests, and many doctors have been known to misdiagnose ovarian cancer as IBS, chronic fatigue or Epstein Barr virus. ***THE PAP WILL NOT DETECT OVARIAN CANCER***
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below and I’ll try my best to answer them!