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What You Need to Know About Ovarian Cancer

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In honor of Ovarian Cancer Awareness month this September, Home Care Plus would like to do its part to raise awareness about the 5th leading cause of cancer deaths among women. While ovarian cancer only accounts for 3% of all cancers, it is the number one cause of death from cancer of the female reproductive system according to the American Cancer Society. Symptoms of ovarian cancer are non-specific and can often be attributed to other causes, which can make early detection difficult. Knowing what is “normal” for your body is key to detecting this and  many other health problem. So what should you be on the lookout for? The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition suggests that if you experience any of the following symptoms for more than two weeks, you should talk to your doctor:

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
  • Feeling the need to urinate urgently or often

Other symptoms of ovarian cancer might include:

  • Fatigue
  • Upset stomach or heartburn
  • Back pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Constipation or menstrual changes

Those with a family history of colon, breast or ovarian cancer are at greater risk. The older you are, the greater your risk. Other risk factors include infertility issues and certain other patterns in your reproductive history. For more information on risk factors, visit the American Cancer Society’s website.

It can be uncomfortable starting a conversation with your doctor about symptoms that can feel personal and somewhat vague. The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition has great tips for how to make this difficult conversation a little easier. When caught early, ovarian cancer has a 5-year survival rate of over 90%. Survival rates drop dramatically when the disease is caught at an advanced stage, so don’t put off a visit to your doctor if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms.

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