September is National Ovarian Cancer Month and, the fact is, ovarian cancer is one of the deadliest of women’s cancers. In Michigan alone, it is estimated there will be 750 cases and 500 women will die from ovarian cancer this year.
According to ovariancancer.org, the cancer typically occurs in women in their 50s and 60s. Many don’t seek help until the disease has begun to spread because the symptoms are often subtle and can be confused with other ailments.
Due to the lack of an early detection test, only 15 percent to 20 percent of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed before the disease become fully developed.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) wants to help educate women on the four symptoms that have been proven to occur more often in women with ovarian cancer as compared to the general public.
“There is no screening test for ovarian cancer,” said Dr. Eden Wells, MDHHS chief medical executive. “Symptom awareness can be lifesaving. Women need to know their bodies and know the symptoms of this deadly disease.”
The four notable symptoms are:
MDHHS says if any of these symptoms are new and unusual, and occur at least 12 times in one month, a doctor visit is in order – preferably with a gynecologist.
Factors that may decrease the risk of ovarian cancer include oral contraceptive use, breastfeeding, and removal of fallopian tubes and/or ovaries.
For more information, MDHHS urges women to visit the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition website at ovarian.org.