Bringing Awareness to Ovarian Cancer

There have been almost 20,000 estimated new cases of ovarian cancer so far in 2022. Early detection can improve the chances of successful treatment and recovery; however, signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer are similar to those of other, more common ailments and are often overlooked. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, “only about 20 percent of ovarian cancers are found at an early stage.”

Symptoms of ovarian cancer can include:

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Back pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Weight loss
  • Increase in frequency or urgency of urination
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite or feeling full quickly
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Heavier or irregular menstrual bleeding

There are also common factors that can increase the chances of developing ovarian cancer. Risk factors include:

  • Age (risk increases as you age. Ovarian cancer most commonly develops after menopause, with half of the cases being found in women aged 63 or older.)
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Family history of ovarian cancer or other types of cancer
  • Smoking
  • Previously having breast cancer
  • Hormone therapy after menopause

It is important to know what is normal for your body and pay attention to any changes, especially if those changes persist for a couple of weeks. If you have any concerns about any symptoms you’re experiencing, especially if you’re at higher risk, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month, and now is the best time to work with your provider to know what to look for.