HEALTHIER YOU: Stepping up the fight against ovarian cancer
BY DR. ANNETTE MAYES
September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, as we pause to consider the fight against one of the deadliest cancers affecting women. Each year, approximately 21,980 American women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. In 2014, it is estimated that 14,270 women died from it in the United States alone. The World Health Organization estimates that there are over 238,000 new cases diagnosed annually, with nearly 152,000 deaths worldwide.
This cancer typically occurs in women in their fifties and sixties, with a median age of 63. Many women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer have a genetic history that may include carrying the BRCA mutation gene and having a strong family history of ovarian cancer.
Unfortunately, many women don’t seek help until the disease has begun to spread. But if detected at its earliest stage, the five-year survival rate is more than 99%.
The symptoms of ovarian cancer are often subtle and easily confused with other ailments. Some of the symptoms may include bloating; pelvic or abdominal pain; difficulty eating or feeling full quickly; urinary urgency or frequency. Other symptoms also may include: extreme fatigue; shortness of breath; backaches; and weight gain.
There are four stages of ovarian cancer: Stage 1 means the cancer is completely contained within the ovary or ovaries; with Stage 2, the cancer is in one or both of the ovaries and has spread to additional organs such as the bladder, colon, rectum and uterus; Stage 3 means the cancer is in one or both ovaries, and has spread to one or both of the following: the lining of the abdomen or the lymph nodes; Stage 4 is the most advanced stage, as the cancer has spread from one or both ovaries to additional organs such as the liver or lungs.
There is no sure way to prevent ovarian cancer. But there are certain factors associated with lower risks. Those factors include use of oral contraceptives; previous pregnancy; history of breastfeeding; and daily use of aspirin.
For additional information, contact the Las Vegas All Women’s Care Offices at (702) 522-9640. Or visit us at 700 Shadow Lane No. 165 (1st floor) in Las Vegas.