Ovarian Cancer:What Is It?

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What is Ovarian Cancer?

Its when cells in the ovaries grow abnormally & the body’s natural defences can’t stop them-

These abnormal cells form growth:-

CANCERS

Who is at risk?

Ovarian Cancer, the second most common female reproductive system cancer, can strike at any age, but it is most common among women just before entering menopause (perimenopause) and then during and after menopause.

This disease also tends to run in families, so women with first-degree relatives (a mother or sister) who have had ovarian cancer are at higher risk) Others at risk include women who have not had children or delayed their first pregnancy until after age 35 and those who have had colon, breast or endometrial cancer. The causes of Ovarian Cancer are not known. Some factors seem to put women at a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. Many women who develop ovarian cancer do not have these risk factors. At the same time many women who do have the risk factors do not develop ovarian cancer. Other possible risk factors include long term use of genital deodorants & other products containing talc, & treatment with fertility drugs

What are the symptoms?

Most common symptoms are:

Unexplained weight gain; abdominal swelling and vague pelvic discomfort; change in bowel habit ie: diarrhea or constipation; urinary changes ie: frequency or urgency; bleeding, apart from normal monthly period; feeling of fullness and bloating; indigestion or feeling ‘sick’; tired; loss of appetite

SEE A DOCTOR IF THESE SYMPTOMS LAST LONGER THAN 2 WEEKS!

What tests are available?

Basic Physical Examination for any lumps, masses by feeling the abdomen (tummy)

Imaging such as Ultrasound or compound tomography (CT) sometimes an MRI or X-ray-

Blood Test-CA-125 blood test to measure levels of protein which is a tumour marker. Raised levels of CA-125 in the blood can indicate epithelial ovarian cancer-

FACT!

Ovarian Cancer is the eighth most common cancer in women in Australia.

It will affect around one in 100 women each year. Epithelial ovarian cancer is the most common type (there are approx 3 types)

Nine out of ten women with ovarian cancer have this type.• Ovarian cancer is more common in Caucasian (white) women who live in westernized countries with a high standard of living.
• Women who have had no or few full term pregnancies appear to be more at risk of ovarian cancer. Women who have never been on the contraceptive pill also seem to be more at risk. The exact reason is uncertain. It could be because the ovaries have never had a ‘rest’ from ovulation during women’s lifetime.
• Some types of ovarian cancer may be linked with a family history of cancers of the ovary, bowel, breast and lining of the uterus.
Other factors may increase your risk of developing the disease:
• You have a personal medical history of multiple exposures to fertility drugs
• You are of Ashkenazi Jewish descent
• You have had genital contact with talcum or asbestos, which are sometimes used in douches and condoms (highly controversial and unproven)
• A high fat diet and being overweight

For further information please visit us at the Feel Teal Club.

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