All women are at risk for developing ovarian cancer, which is one of the deadliest forms of gynecologic cancer. In the United States alone, the condition is diagnosed annually in nearly 21,000 females and responsible for causing approximately 14,000 deaths. In recognition of these facts, President Barack Obama has declared the month of September as National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. The goal is to raise public awareness about the condition’s early warning signs and ultimately save lives.
As with all types of cancer, early detection is key to achieving the best possible outcome for a woman who is diagnosed with ovarian cancer. But, the condition usually produces no symptoms until it reaches an advanced stage, and there is no simple and reliable way to screen for it in women who do not have symptoms. By learning about possible warning signs and recognizing unexplained changes in their bodies, women can increase their likelihood of detecting ovarian cancer in its earliest stages, when treatments are most effective and there are usually more options available.
Early warning signs
The symptoms of ovarian cancer are often very subtle and easily confused with other, less serious conditions. Some warning signs to watch for include:
- Persistent abdominal bloating
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- A premature feeling of fullness while eating
- Urinary urgency or frequency
- Nausea, indigestion, gas, constipation or diarrhea
- Extreme fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Unexplained weight gain
All women are encouraged to speak with a health care provider about ovarian cancer, which can affect females at any stage of life and most frequently develops between the ages of 50 and 60. Also, many women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer have a strong family history of the condition, which may include carrying the BRCA mutation gene.
Moffitt Cancer Center
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we are dedicated to performing research and raising awareness about ovarian cancer throughout the year. During the month of September, we reaffirm our commitment to fighting this condition by continually developing more effective prevention, detection and treatment strategies. Our mission is to support, empower, encourage and bring hope to those who are fighting for their lives.
Remember, when it comes to your health, you are your own best advocate. If you’d like to learn more about ovarian cancer, call 1-888-MOFFITT or complete our new patient registration form online. You do not need a referral to speak with our expert oncologists.