Ovarian Cancer month at Carle


Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)

Ovarian cancer is not common. About 1% of women in the U.S. have this cancer. However, it is the number one cause of death from a gynecological cancer in the U.S., as it often goes untreated until it has advanced.
Today we’re talking ovarian cancer prevention with Dr. Beverly London, Obstetrics & Gynecology at Carle, who is sharing the latest information. Ovarian cancer is one gynecological cancer treated at Carle. Within a 100-mile radius, Carle treats all forms of gynecological cancer, including cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulvar cancers.

Where does ovarian cancer occur?
• It can develop on the surface of the ovary or from the inside.
• Some ovarian cancers can start in the fallopian tube and travel to the ovary.

What are the top 4 symptoms of ovarian cancer?
• Bloating or an increase in abdominal size
• Pelvic or Abdominal Pain
• Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
• Urinary symptoms (frequency & urgency)

Other symptoms: Vagina bleeding – especially after menopause
Change in Bowel Habits
• If signs and symptom do not improve in 2 wks after normal interventions like:
o Laxatives
o Rest
o Changing diet
o Exercise
You should contact your provider

What causes ovarian cancer?
The cause is not clear, but certain things can increase the risk of getting ovarian cancer. The top factors are:
• Age – older than 55 years and having gone through menopause so the ovaries no longer work.
• Family history of Breast, Ovarian, Colon or Uterine cancer
• Personal history of Breast cancer
• BRCA1 or 2
• Never having kids
• Infertility
• Endometriosis
• Lynch syndrome (genetic disorder that makes someone predisposed to cancers before age 50)

What screening tests are available?
• None currently. Pelvic sonograms, which are noninvasive, can be used to visualize the ovaries
• Women should be alert to any changes in their body and discuss them with their provider
• A CA 125 blood test may be helpful to diagnose ovarian cancer in a high-risk woman after menopause

How is ovarian cancer treated?
• The location and stage, type, patient age and general health determine treatment.
• Usually surgery is used to remove ovaries, fallopian tubes, lymph glands (nodes) and uterus.
• Drugs (chemotherapy) and radiation therapy can also be used in the treatment of ovarian cancer.

How is risk reduced?
• The earlier this cancer is diagnosed, the better the outcome.
• Combination birth control pills. For every 5 years of pill use, risk is reduced by 20%
• If you have a tubal ligation – consider having your tubes removed – A salpingectomy
Other tips
• Tell your healthcare provider about relatives with ovarian cancer
• If diagnosed with ovarian cancer, ask your provider about emotional and social support groups in your community.
• Try to live a healthy lifestyle by eating more fruits, vegetables and grains and less fat. Exercise. Keep to your ideal weight.
• Do not miss follow-up health appointments with your provider.

For more information, go to carle.org

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