World Ovarian Cancer Awareness Day is on 8th May 2015, which aims to increase awareness about the disease.
The first World Ovarian Cancer Day took place May 8th, 2013. It is dedicated to creating and raising awareness about ovarian cancer, the women’s cancer with the lowest survival rate for which there is little awareness and no cure. On this day, ovarian cancer awareness organizations from across the world worked together with a singular focus and message for ovarian cancer and its symptoms.
World Ovarian Cancer Day will take place on May 8th each year.
Some 7,100 women in the UK are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year, making it the fifth most common cancer among women. We take a look at the causes and symptoms of the disease, and share ways to get involved with Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month this March.
About Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer affects the ovaries, a small pair of female reproductive organs. The ovaries produce the female sex hormones and, in ovulation, release an egg once a month between puberty and menopause.
There are different types of ovarian cancer, but the most common is Epithelial Ovarian Cancer, which affects the surface layers of the ovary.
Ovarian cancer can affect women of any age, but it is most commonly diagnosed in women over 50 who have been through the menopause.
Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
Unfortunately the indicators of ovarian cancer can be hard to pinpoint, as they can be confused with symptoms of other conditions. However there are definite symptoms of the disease, and we now know that ovarian cancer is not the ‘silent’ disease it was once thought to be.
Symptoms can include:
- Persistent bloating and a feeling of fullness in the abdomen
- Pain in the lower stomach and pelvis
- Difficulty eating
- Needing to urinate more often than normal
People with ovarian cancer can experience the above symptoms quite suddenly and find they are severe and last most days for a few weeks.
Causes, Screening, and Treatment
The exact cause of ovarian cancer is not known.
Although women over 50 are more at risk of the disease, younger women can develop ovarian cancer too.
Ovarian cancer is not associated with sexual activity or the HPV virus, and the cervical screening test (smear test) cannot detect ovarian cancer.
If you have had two or more close relatives (on the same side of the family) who have been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer then you may have a slightly increased risk of developing the disease. However only 20% of ovarian cancer cases are thought to be linked to faulty genes.
There are some other factors which are thought to slightly increase the likelihood of developing the condition. These include: if you started periods when you were very young or if they ended later; if you are obese; if you’ve used HRT for more than five years; if you smoke; if you use talcum powder between the legs.
If you’re worried about any of these things then you can use the OPERA tool from Macmillan Cancer Support to assess your risk.
If you have symptoms and are in an at risk group, you should make an appointment to see your GP.
GPs arrange several different tests to screen patients with symptoms of ovarian cancer. These include a physical exam, a blood test, and a CT scan.
Ovarian cancer is usually treated with a combination of surgery and chemotherapy, depending on the stage of the cancer and your own health.
Are you doing anything to help raise awareness during World Ovarian Cancer Awareness Day?
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