Signs and symptoms of this silent killer
September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and Velocity Care wants to provide you with the information that every woman needs to know about this often-silent disease.
Sometimes known as a “silent killer,” ovarian cancer is an extremely dangerous disease that often progresses without obvious symptoms. According to the American Cancer Society, ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cancer among women and the fifth most common cause of cancer-related deaths. September is the month to spread awareness about this disease to educate women on what symptoms to look for and how they can protect themselves.
What is ovarian cancer?
An ovary is a small female reproductive gland located on each side of the pelvis. These two small glands are responsible for the production of eggs every month for reproductive purposes and are also where the female hormones of estrogen and progesterone are produced. Cancer occurs in the ovaries when cells begin to mutate, grow out of control and form tumors.
What are the symptoms?
One of the biggest dangers of ovarian cancer is that it can progress without any obvious symptoms. The main reason it causes so many deaths is because by the time that it is diagnosed, it has often progressed to dangerous levels and even spread to other parts of the body.
Some of the most common symptoms to watch for are:
- Pain in the lower pelvis and abdomen.
- Frequent urination.
- A feeling of fullness that comes on quickly when eating.
- Back pain.
- Pain during intercourse.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Loss of appetite.
Who is at risk for ovarian cancer?
Although research has yet to determine the exact causes of ovarian cancer, there are some factors that may contribute to this disease. Women with a family history of ovarian or breast cancer, women over the age of 65, women who have had hormone replacement therapy and women who are obese all have an increased risk for this type of cancer. Also, the total number of ovulations that a woman has had may increase her risk, meaning someone who began menstruating early in life and entered menopause late may be at a higher risk than others.
It is important to seek a doctor’s advice if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms or if you fall into one of the higher-risk categories for ovarian cancer. There are tests that physicians can perform to check for the disease – and early detection is the best cure. If it is found in its early stages, the survival rate for ovarian cancer is extremely high.
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