Did you know that ovarian cancer is one of the most deadly types of cancer? 1 in 75 women will be diagnosed, and her lifetime chance of dying from ovarian cancer is 1 in 100, according to the American Cancer Society. Those odds are certainly not in women's favor. What should you know about this deadly cancer and are there steps you can take to help reduce your risk?
Around 20% of all ovarian cancer cases are discovered in the early stages. The ovaries are located so deep within the body that is can be hard to detect, but it's also because women are not familiar with the signs they should be looking for. For instance did you know that frequent urination or loss of appetite/feeling full longer than normal are red flags?
Keep the following in mind to make sure you catch ovarian cancer as early as possible.
1. Ovarian cancer risks increase with age. Ovarian cancer rates are highest between ages 55-64.
2. Be on the look out for bloating, pelvic/abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, and urinary symptoms which are all early signs of ovarian cancer.
3. Ovarian cancer symptoms tend to hang around longer. If you experience any of these symptoms 12 or more times per month, visit your gynecologist, fatigue, upset stomach, back pain, painful sex, constipation, menstrual changes, and abdominal swelling.
4. Pap smears cannot detect ovarian cancer. They can help find irregular cells that will become cervical cancer but not ovarian cancer. Even the swelling of the ovaries that your physician may detect isn't enough to conclude if ovarian cancer is a threat.
5. There is still no standard or reliable way to screen for ovarian cancer. Paying close attention to your body and symptoms can help in the diagnosis process.
6. Transvaginal ultrasounds can detect masses that could be tumors but won't be able to indicate whether a mass is malignant or benign.
7. An estimated 39% of women who inherit the BRCA1 mutation and between 11 and 17% of women who inherit the BRCA2 mutation will develop ovarian cancer by the time they’re 70 years old according to the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health.
8. Taking birth control pills reduces your risk for up to 15 years after you stop taking them.
9. Removing the fallopian tubes can reduce your risk. This can be a good option if you are done having children or do not interested in having children.
10. The Journal of the American Cancer Institute which found that ovarian cancer patients who received treatment from gynecologic oncologists or gynecologists (as opposed to general surgeons) had “clearly superior outcomes,” and noted that all potential surgical patients should meet with a gynecological oncologist.
Knowing what signs and symptoms to look for is half of the battle. What else can you do?
1. Exercise regularly. Regular movement helps your body to function at an optimum level.
2. Get adequate sleep. Your body can only repair itself while you sleep. Giving yourself the proper rest is crucial for your body to heal.
3. Eat a balanced diet with emphasis on as many different fruits and veggies as possible. By providing your body with large doses of raw/whole sources of vitamins and minerals will allow it to process them more efficiently and in turn will improve the overall function of your body.
4. Maintain a healthy outlook on life. Negative thoughts and stress have been proven to impact our bodies on a physical level. Keeping a positive outlook may improve the outcome should your body find itself under ovarian cancer's attack.
If you are ready to start a nutrition or training program, visit us at Truve. We have programs for locals in Oakland and the East Bay, but also have online programs for those out of area.
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