Most women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer often reach the advanced stage, by which time it is too late to offer any treatment.
The Silent Killer
Among all the cancers that affect women, ovarian cancer takes up 4 percent of the total chunk. Each year, more than 200,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer across the world. When diagnosed in the earlier stages (1 and 2), the survival rate is estimated to be around 80 to 90 percent, which drops down to just about 25 percent when diagnosed in later stages (3 and 4). As per a study, only 30 percent of total patients are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the early stages, which means that most patients have no chance of a treatment or cure.
The Warning Signs: What To Watch Out For
The reason ovarian cancer is labelled a silent killer is because the signs and symptoms are hard to identify. Here are some of the most common symptoms of ovarian cancer. However, remember that if you experience these symptoms, it does not mean that you do have ovarian cancer, but it is definitely important that you speak to your doctor about it.
- Constant discomfort or a feeling of bloating or fullness in the pelvic area
- Excessive pain while having sex
- Bleeding that happens on and off, even when your menstrual dates are not expected
- Pain and or swelling in the abdominal area
- Gas, indigestion or an overall feeling of bloating without any obvious reason
- Increase in the amount of time you urinate
- Pain in your lower back
- Constantly feeling tired even if you have rested well or not done anything to exert yourself
- Unexplained loss of appetite or feeling very full even if you eat less
- The waist or lower abdomen area feels tighter, and clothes start feeling tight around the area
Are You At Risk?
If you relate to any of the following, your chances of ovarian cancer, especially if you have the above mentioned symptoms, can be higher than others. Here are some factors that can put you at a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Cancer In The Family
If you have any female member in the family who has had ovarian cancer, you are at a higher risk. It could be your mother, sister, cousin, aunt, daughter, or any other family member, who may be related to you in some way. Not just ovarian cancer, if any of these females from your family have had any type of cancer, you are still at a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Had Cancer In The Past
If you are a cancer survivor of any type of cancer, you are at a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. Whether it was breast cancer, rectum cancer, colon cancer or any other type, the chances of ovarian cancer are still high. In case you have survived breast cancer, your chances of getting ovarian cancer are twice as compared to those who have not.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Women who are given hormone replacement therapy have a high risk of developing ovarian cancer. When you have ovaries and you are given oestrogen without progesterone, for at least 10 years or even more, your chances become really high. If your doctor has suggested HRT for any reason, make sure you talk about your risk of developing ovarian cancer.
No Previous Pregnancy
If you are above 30 and have never been pregnant, you have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Even if you can identify the above mentioned risk factors, it does not mean you will develop ovarian cancer. Speak to your doctor to take the required tests and assess your overall health and risk.