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 Changing diet
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
• 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
• 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