February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
Ovarian cancer is the deadliest of all women’s cancers. Each year in Australia approximately 1,580 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and more than 1,047 women die from the disease.
There is no early detection test for ovarian cancer, so the best way of detecting the disease is to know and recognise the signs and symptoms. Ovarian cancer cannot be detected by a pap test or cervical smear.
If women are diagnosed at an early stage, they have a 44% chance of being alive and well within five years of diagnosis. However, approximately 75% of women are diagnosed at an advanced stage, where the cancer has spread and is difficult to treat successfully.
It can be difficult to diagnose ovarian cancer because the symptoms are ones that many women will have from time to time, and they are often symptoms of less serious and more common health problems.
But we do know that ovarian cancer is NOT a silent disease. Women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer report four types of symptoms most frequently:
- Abdominal or pelvic pain.
- Increased abdominal size or persistent abdominal bloating.
- Needing to urinate often or urgently.
- Feeling full after eating a small amount.
If you have any of these symptoms, and they are new for you and you have experienced them multiple times during a 4-week period, go to your GP.
Learn about the symptoms and risks for the benefit of your own health, and for your loved ones who may also be at risk of this disease.
For more information check out Ovarian Cancer Australia’s website.