September is recognized as National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. The goal is simple; to bring awareness to one of the most deadly diseases that plagues our country. This year alone, more than 22,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer and more than half will die of the disease. Every 24 minutes there is another diagnosis of ovarian cancer within the United States. It is considered one of the eight most common cancers and the fifth leading cause of death of all cancers.
Ovarian cancer is known as the silent killer because many times the disease goes undetected until advance stages. Awareness of risk factors are crucial as we remain diligent in the fight this disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all women are at risk, but older women are more likely to develop the disease than younger women. Ninety percent of women diagnosed diagnosed with the disease are older than 40 years of age, with the greatest number of cases occurring in women 60 years or older.
Ovarian cancer is extremely difficult to detect, especially in its early stages. The key weapon in defeating this disease is that women must know their bodies and recognize when things are not normal. If you have a feeling something is simply “not right,” ask questions of your physician.
Following are potential signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer:
- Pelvic and abdominal pain
- Trouble eating and feeling full quickly
- Feeling the need to urinate urgently and often
Other symptoms include:
- Upset stomach or constant heartburn
- Back pain
- Pain during sex
- Constipation or menstrual changes
The signs and symptoms are described as vague or silent so if they persist for more than two weeks, it is recommended that you consult a physician.
This month, as well as months to come, we extend our support to women battling this disease, and their families and caregivers who are aiding them in this fight. From personal experience, I realize that fighting this disease is a a formidable battle. Our prayers are with everyone committed to defeating this disease.
To learn more about this deadly disease visit www.ovariancancer.org.