BLOGS from St. Anthony
As summer comes to an end and September rolls in, it is time be reminded of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. One of the most deadly cancers for women, the American Cancer Society predicts that roughly 21,750 women (about 2% of the population) will be diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer in 2020, with an estimated 13,940 of those cases ending in death. For these reasons, it is of utmost importance for all women to be educated on the causes and signs of Ovarian Cancer, and to know the best ways of prevention to best protect their health.
Causes and Risk Factors of Ovarian Cancer
Though researchers have learned more about Ovarian Cancer over time, the causes of Ovarian Cancer are still widely unknown. However, there are many risk factors that have indicated an increased chance of getting Ovarian Cancer, such as:
- Age. Older women over the age of 63 years old are more likely to get the disease than others.
- Genetics. If someone in your family has had Ovarian Cancer in the past, either maternal or paternal, it is likely to be passed down.
- Genetic Mutations. People with BRCA1, BRCA2, and Lynch Syndrome, have been associated with Ovarian Cancer.
- Previous Medical Conditions with Reproductive System. The use of fertility treatments, estrogen hormone replacement therapy, and lack of pregnancy may indicate an increased chance for Ovarian Cancer.
One of the reasons Ovarian Cancer is so deadly to women is because many of the symptoms often go undetected until the cancer is in an advanced stage. Known as a “silent killer,” symptoms of Ovarian Cancer may seem normal at first. Pay attention to your body, and consider getting screened by your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms more than 12 times per month:
- Pelvic, Abdominal, or Back Pain.
- Difficulty Eating. This could be in the form of feeling full too early.
- Urination Patterns. Frequency and urgency are common symptoms.
- Constipation or IBS.
- Vaginal Discharge. Discharge that is uncommon for you, as well as vaginal bleeding for women past menopause, are cause for concern.
Since the causes of Ovarian Cancer are still relatively unknown, there are no known concrete ways to prevent Ovarian Cancer. There are, however, many things that been associated with lowering the risk for Ovarian Cancer, including:
- Oral Contraceptives. The use of birth control for more than 5 years.
- Tubal Ligation (getting your tubes tied), Ovary Removal, or Hysterectomy (removal of the uterus and/or cervix).
- Pregnancy/Having Given Birth.
- Breastfeeding. Women who breastfeed for over a year have shown “moderately reduced risks for ovarian cancer”.
Remember that while some of these suggestions have shown decreased chances of Ovarian Cancer for some women, they may not work for all, and by no means ensures you won’t get it. If you would like to learn more about prevention tactics that are more personal to your lifestyle and health history, talk to your doctor.
St. Anthony Regional Hospital in Carroll, Iowa has been serving the citizens of West Central Iowa since 1905, offering Health, Healing, and Hope. Access to specialty physicians, the latest technology, and cost-effective care set St. Anthony apart in effectively treating each individual’s physical, spiritual and psychosocial needs. For more information, visit our website or give us a call at (712) 792-3581.
- cancer services
- ovarian cancer