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Ovarian Cancer Facts and Symptoms

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Ovarian cancer does not have the awareness level that some cancers of the female reproductive system have, but according to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, it is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death in women ages 35-74. Early detection is critical to beating this disease. Unfortunately, the symptoms of ovarian cancer are vague and there are few early detection tests, which means less than 20% of diagnoses are made in the early stages of the disease (National Ovarian Cancer Coalition).

So what can you do to protect yourself? The best way is to know the symptoms and take action if you notice a change in your body that persists for more than a few weeks. The American Cancer Society recommends you visit your doctor if you experience any combination of the following symptoms more than 12 times a month:

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
  • Urinary symptoms such as urgency (always feeling like you have to go) or frequency (having to go often)
  • Fatigue
  • Upset stomach
  • Back pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Constipation
  • Menstrual changes
  • Abdominal swelling with weight loss

There are certain risk factors for ovarian cancer. Some include a family history of ovarian, breast or colorectal cancers, obesity, and those who have taken hormone replacement therapy—for a full list visit the American Cancer Society’s website. Please help spread the word about this disease. Early detection makes all the difference!

 

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