November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month!

Ovarian Cancer: Basics of Prevention and Detection

Ovarian Cancer: Basics of Prevention and Detection

About 21,300 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year in America, and in the same time more than 14,100 women die from it. As is often the case, you don’t have much control over many of the primary risk factors for this type of cancer. Still, some smart lifestyle choices do help prevent the disease. Chances of successful treatment are considerably greater with early detection and intervention.

Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors

  • Only females are affected (ovaries are part of the female reproductive system)
  • A family history of ovarian or certain breast cancers (especially affecting close relatives)
  • Mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene
  • Having certain inherited cancer syndromes
  • Undergoing post-menopausal hormone replacement therapy
  • Being overweight
  • Being 5’8” or taller

How to Lower Your Risk of Ovarian Cancer

  • Exercise for at least 30-45 minutes most days of the week
  • Stay at a healthy weight
  • Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables
  • Find alternatives to hormone replacement therapy if possible
  • Use oral contraception (“the pill”)
  • Breastfeed
  • If you’re considered high risk, ask about having your fallopian tubes tied closed or surgically removing your ovaries and fallopian tubes

Encouraging Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer

  • See your gynecologist regularly for pelvic examinations
  • Watch for common signs and symptoms, like frequent bloating, quickly feeling full, abdominal or pelvic discomfort/pain, frequent or urgent urination, back pain, pain during sex, menstrual changes, constipation or bowel irregularities, or chronic fatigue; mention these to your doctor right away

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NWFCCC works to reduce the burden of cancer on area residents by increasing access to cancer information and services, by developing and implementing cancer control projects for the public and healthcare professionals, and by promoting awareness of prevention and early detection practices.

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