Ovarian cancer is the deadliest women’s cancer. Unfortunately, this has not changed in 30 years.
Each year, over 1,500 women in Australia will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
Held annually in Australia, February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
It raises awareness of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, highlights the risk factors, and educates people on this deadly disease.
What are some of the risk factors for ovarian cancer?
We don’t know the causes of most ovarian cancer. Research into the causes is continuing in Australia and overseas.
We do know that there are some factors that may increase a woman’s risk of developing this cancer, and that there are some protective factors that may reduce a woman’s risk.
Many women who develop ovarian cancer do not have any known risk factors — while many women who do have risk factors never develop this cancer.
Here are some of the risk factors:
- Age: ovarian cancer is most common in women over 50 and in women who have stopped menstruating (have been through menopause), and the risk increases with age. However, it can affect women of all ages.
- Genetics and family history: if a woman has two or more relatives from the same side of her family affected by ovarian or other cancer, her risk of developing ovarian cancer may be increased. Genetics and family history are responsible for at least 15% of ovarian cancers.
- Child-bearing history: women who have not had children, are unable to have children, have never used oral contraceptives or have had children over the age of 30, may be slightly more at risk. This is due to ovaries not having a ‘rest’ from the break and repair of the surface of the ovary when women ovulate each month.
- Endometriosis: this condition is when the tissue lining the uterus (endometrium) is also found outside of the uterus.
- Lifestyle factors: such as smoking, being overweight or eating a high-fat diet.
- Hormonal factors: including early puberty (menstruating before 12) or late menopause (onset after 50).
What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer?
There is no early detection test, so all women need to be aware of the symptoms.
The most commonly reported symptoms for ovarian cancer are:
- Increased abdominal size or persistent abdominal bloating
- Abdominal or pelvic (lower tummy) pain
- Feeling full after eating a small amount
- Needing to urinate often or urgently.
It’s important to remember all the symptoms mentioned can be caused by other, less serious medical conditions.
However, if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, which are persistent and troublesome, you should see your Pascoe Vale doctor. They’ll be able to examine you and if necessary, do further tests to find the cause of your problems.
Make a booking today
To see if you’re at risk of ovarian cancer, or just for a general check-up, please make a booking today.
You can book online, on Facebook, on the HotDoc app or by calling 9304 0500.
Source: Ovarian Cancer Australia
Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.