If you ask a woman what month is Breast Cancer Awareness – most without a second’s hesitation will respond October. How about Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month? When Kendra and I launched Gorgeous You we were very clear that our mission was to be a business that catered to all women living with cancer – any type of cancer. The answer is March. March is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. In support of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month we wanted to share some of the early signs of ovarian cancer with our community.
The American Cancer Society estimates that 21 750 women will be diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer in 2020 and a women’s risk in her lifetime is about 1 in 78 of contracting the disease. The five-year survival rate for early-stage ovarian cancer is about 80 to 90 percent, while for advanced-stage ovarian cancer, it varies from 28 to 40 percent. So early detection is crucial.
Ovarian cancer has often been referred to as a silent killer with few, if any, early symptoms. That being said there are some early signs of the disease that are important to recognize.
“Women tend to ignore early signs of ovarian cancer or think their symptoms are simply related to aging, weight gain or other less serious problems,” says Amina Ahmed, MD, a gynecologic oncologist at Rush. “That’s what makes ovarian cancer so difficult to detect early, when it is most curable.”
Some of the more common early warning signs are:
- Abdominal bloating, pressure and pain.
Feeling bloated and full is one of the most common early signs of ovarian cancer. Also if the bloating is accompanied by visible swelling in your stomach, this could be a red flag that there is a problem.
- An increase in urination or an increased urge to urinate.
Frequent urination is the need to urinate more than you normally would. The urge can strike suddenly and cause you to lose control of your bladder. It can feel uncomfortable, like your bladder is extremely full.
- Difficulty eating.
When it comes to ovarian cancer, a common GI symptom is constipation. Constipation is defined as having hard dry bowel movements, or going fewer than three times per week.
Persistent pressure in the abdomen and pelvis and/or lower back pain that lasts for one to three weeks can signal a problem. While this vague ovarian cancer symptom can accompany any number of conditions, it is important to note if the pain is new to you, it does not come and go, and cannot be easily attributed to other factors.
The important thing to note is to talk to your doctor if your symptoms persist. If they do not go away within one to three weeks, or over-the-counter medications don’t help. Recognizing these early symptoms can be crucial in treating the disease before it progresses.
Seed of Life Locket Cashmere Beanie Alexandra