Rockingham County Health and Human Services
Felissa Ferrell
Director of Health and Human Services
Felissa Ferrell
Director of Social Services
Ernesto Moseley, MPA, BS
Health Director
 
 
 

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Ovarian Cancer Awareness
 
Posted on Wednesday September 01, 2010
 
September is recognized as National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and the Maternal and Child Health Workgroup of Rockingham County Healthy Carolinians would like you to know more about this dangerous disease.
 
September is recognized as National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and the Maternal and Child Health Workgroup of Rockingham County Healthy Carolinians would like you to know the following information. All cases of ovarian cancer differ, therefore it is important to consult your doctor for any specific questions you may have.

What is Ovarian Cancer?
Ovarian cancer is a disease in which malignant or cancerous cells (cells that spread and grow out of control) are found in the ovaries

Key Statistics of Ovarian Cancer
  • In women age 35-74, ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths.
  • The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 21,880 new cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed and 13,850 women will die of the disease in 2010
  • 93% of women are still alive 5 years after diagnosis if they are diagnosed and treated before the cancer has spread outside the ovaries
  • Approximately half of the women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are age 60 or older
  • Ovarian cancer is more common in white women than African-American women

Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer (Factors that increase your risk of developing ovarian cancer)
  • Personal history of breast cancer
  • Personal or family history of breast, ovarian, or colon cancer (10% of cases are inherited)
  • Increasing age (Ovarian cancer is rare in women younger than 40 and most cases develop in women after menopause)
  • Undesired infertility (Women who have no children or had children late in life are at an increased risk)
  • Women who take estrogen after menopause are at an increased risk if they take estrogen only (without progesterone) for many years Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
  • Abdominal swelling or bloating
  • Pelvic pressure or abdominal pain
  • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
  • Feeling the need to urinate urgently or often
  • Other symptoms include: fatigue, upset stomach or heartburn, back pain, pain during sex, constipation, menstrual changes, unexplained weight loss or gain, and shortness of breath Diagnostic Tests to Detect Ovarian Cancer
Women are encouraged to receive an annual exam every year (Consult your gynecologist for more information regarding type of exam and age to receive exam)

Certain types of ultrasounds can be used on women who are at higher risk (Consult your doctor for more information)

A blood test is done to determine if the levels of tumor marker CA-125 has increased in the blood. (This test is not definite because levels vary depending on the type of disease or problem present in the ovary)

Treatment for Ovarian Cancer
  • Surgery to remove the cancer growth is the primary method for ovarian cancer
  • Chemotherapy is the use of drugs throughout the bloodstream to kill cancerous cells and is typically used as a follow-up to surgery
  • Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancerous cell and is rarely used as a treatment of ovarian cancer
Get the Facts Straight
  • You cannot diagnose ovarian cancer with a Pap Test
  • Symptoms for ovarian cancer may be confused for other diseases or problems so pay attention to symptoms that persists daily for more than two weeks
  • There is no screening test that is 100% accurate in detecting ovarian cancer
  • All women are at risk for ovarian cancer whether it runs in your family or not
  • There is no way to prevent ovarian cancer with 100% certainty
  • Ovarian cysts do not increase your risk of ovarian cancer, most are harmless and go away, however some can be cancerous
Want to Learn More about Ovarian Cancer? Visit the following websites:

 
 
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