Summary: Ovarian cancer forms in the ovaries inside of a woman and can be very difficult to detect in early stages. September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month, which is designed to help raise awareness and funds for a future cure for this type of cancer! Here you will learn the signs and symptoms to watch for, facts about ovarian cancer, and how you can get involved to help spread awareness in your area!
Did you know that one in seventy-eight women will develop ovarian cancer in her lifetime? Or that your regular Pap smear test does not catch ovarian cancer? Or, did you know that this cancer, when caught early, also has over a ninety-percent survival rate?
Ovarian cancer does not only affect women, in that everyone is affected when cancer strikes. National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month is held every September, when several organizations, groups and national companies work to raise funds and empower people with education to help prevent this cancer and allow others to know what symptoms to watch for.
To assist with early detection, one should be made aware of the warning signs of ovarian cancer. There can be many signs and several symptoms that vary from person to person. The most common symptoms include:
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
- Urinary symptoms such as urgency or always feeling like you have to go, or frequency, which is having to go often.
These symptoms can also be caused by numerous other medical issues and generalized body crisis. When these symptoms are persistent and have a specific point of change from your “normal,” it is more likely to be cancer related. If you have these symptoms for more than twelve months, see your doctor as soon as possible to find a path to feeling better again. Other symptoms that could present with ovarian cancer are:
- Fatigue or extreme tiredness
- Upset stomach
- Back pain
- Pain during sex
- Changes in a woman’s period, such as heavier bleeding than normal or irregular bleeding
- Abdominal, or belly, swelling with weight loss
- Unexplained weight loss
If you do have ovarian cancer, depending on the severity and stage, will help to determine which treatment plan best fits for you. You might have local treatments, which include less invasive types of treatment. Systemic therapies use drugs to treat the cancer, as they can reach the cancer cells almost anywhere in the body. These can be administered in a multitude of ways. These treatments can include chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and hormone therapy.
How can I help spread the word about ovarian cancer?
There are many different ways you can get involved to help share information and education about ovarian cancer! The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition offers many different ideas, infographics to share, and other ways you can help in your area, or using your social media accounts! Here are some of those ideas:
- Whenever on social media, share informative and factual articles about ovarian cancer and women’s health, with the hashtag #KnowOvarian. Encourage your friends and family to do the same!
- Save and share the premade infographics on the NOOC website along with the hashtag from above.
- Join a local run or walk event to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer. You can also create your own event and register it with the NOOC. This allows your event to be seen nationwide and invites more people from your area to join in the fun!
- Carry out a fundraiser to help raise funds for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition’s research and funding for a cure!
- On Facebook, add a special frame to your profile picture that highlights ovarian cancer. This lets all of your friends and family know that you support those who struggle with ovarian cancer.
- Consider joining Together in
TEAL-Ending Ovarian Cancer signature fundraising series for the National
Ovarian Cancer Coalition. This event is hosted by communities and businesses
across the country in hopes to raise funds and awareness, while honoring
survivors and those that care for them, celebrate the memory of those who lost
their battle, and encourage all citizens around the globe to get involved in
the battle against cancer, whichever form. Through these local events, the
critical funds needed are raised in various ways and help to increase the
quality of life programs offered to patients, community outreach accessibility,
and funds the very necessary research that, one day, will find a cure.
- This event began in 1998 as the “Walk for a Whisper” that was a 5k walk or run and has expanded largely over the past few decades. The recent charted impact of these events is:
- Approximately 114,000 people participated in events across America
- Almost 4,000 survivors were honored
- Over seven-thousand teams fought for this cause
- Roughly three-thousand volunteers supported the run-walk event
Ovarian cancer, and any cancer for that matter, is more than just a woman’s disease. The same is true for male-centered cancers. This means that cancer affects everyone around the patient in a multitude of ways. Some are pushed to want to help and support in any way that they can, and during the month of September, their help goes the extra distance.
If you suspect you might be dealing with the signs of ovarian cancer, do not wait to contact your medical care team and schedule and appointment to begin testing today. As with many types of cancer, early detection and living a lifestyle that creates preventative measures and smart decision making can also help to lessen your overall risk of developing this, or any type of cancer.
Ovarian dot org