“It’s a scary word, ‘Cancer’”. - Alan Jackson
Are you having trouble eating or feeling full quickly? Is your stomach constantly bloated? Do you pee ever so often? Are you constipated and in pain? Do not ignore these signs as many women tend to believe weight, age or a less serious problem are the cause of these signs. However, these symptoms are a few of the early signs of ovarian cancer.
Cancer starts when cells in any part of the body begins to grow uncontrollably and spreads. Some of the most common cancers women are diagnosed with are: breast, colorectal, endometrial, lung, cervical, skin, and ovarian. Cancer is named after the part of the body where it originated. When cancer spreads, it keeps this same name. However ovarian cancer does not always start in the ovaries , recent evidence suggests that ovarian cancer may commence in the cell line of the fallopian tube or other organs. Ovarian cancer can occur at any age but most commonly found in women between the ages of 50 and 60 years old. Additionally, women who have never had children, who had their first child after age 35 and used estrogen alone as a hormone replacement therapy have an increased risk for this cancer.
Several risk factors can increase your chances of developing certain types of cancer. Although you may not be able to control all risk factors like age and heredity, limiting your exposure to modifiable risk factors may decrease the likelihood of developing cancer. If you are concerned about your risk of ovarian cancer, talk to your health care professionals.
Exercise and Diet - working out 30 mins each day reduces your risk of ovarian cancer by 20%. Foods like beans, nuts, carrots, leafy greens, and sweet potatoes incorporated into the diet also reduces your risk.
Oral Contraceptives - studies have shown that women who have a history of oral contraceptive have a 50% decreased risk of ovarian cancer. Consult your physician to see what works best for you.
Avoids carcinogens - avoiding substances such as talcum powder that can be found in baby powder, vaginal deodorants and makeup reduces your risk.
Pregnancy & Breastfeeding - women who have birthed at least once, especially before the age of 30 have a lowered risk of developing ovarian cancer. This risk lowers for each child a woman births. Women who breastfeed also have a lower risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Healthy Lifestyle - avoiding the use and exposure of tobacco can lower the risk of ovarian cancer and other types of cancer. Limiting alcohol consumption also decreases your risk.
Have regular check-ups and cancer screening tests
Stay away from tobacco
Get moving with regular physical activity
Follow a healthy eating pattern that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, while limiting red meats, and processed foods
It’s best not to drink alcohol, however women may have one drink a day
Protect your skin by using sunscreen with SPF of 15 or higher
Know your family history
Your response to cancer therapy and chances for a cure depend on the type and the staging of ovarian cancer at the time of diagnosis. There are more than 30 types of ovarian cancers. A combination of surgery and chemotherapy are generally used for treatment. Choosing the type of treatment that is right for you may be hard. Talk to your oncologist about the best and available treatments for your type and stage of cancer.
Social media pages to follow:
Foundation for Women’s Cancer
SHARE Cancer Support
Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE)
National Ovarian Cancer Coalition
Ovarian Cancer Podcasts:
Medical Update on Ovarian Cancer, Mar 5, 2019
Online Support Groups:
Live Support Groups:
Living With Cancer: Gynecologic Cancers Patient Support Group (New York, Video)