Parkridge Health System - September 30, 2019

The American Cancer Society states that approximately one in every 75 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer at some point during their lifetime.

Who is at risk for ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer is a disease that affects a woman's ovaries. While any woman is at risk of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, there are some women who are at a higher risk. Risk factors include:

  • Having a family history of the condition
  • Being of an advanced age
  • Having kids later in life or not at all
  • Using fertility medications
  • Using hormone therapy after menopause
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having had breast cancer

While some of the risk factors identified above are beyond your control, you can take steps to lower your risk by knowing your family medical history and practicing healthy lifestyle habits, such as regular exercise and a healthy diet.

What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer?

Unfortunately, many times ovarian cancer is not diagnosed until a later, more progressed stage. It's what is often called a silent condition since it often doesn't cause symptoms at an early stage.

In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, only around 20% of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed at an early stage. Therefore, it is extremely important for women to take control of their health and speak up if they feel something's not quite right with their health.

The following are common signs of ovarian cancer in a more advanced stage:

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Changes in appetite
  • Pressure in the pelvis or lower back
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Constipation
  • Changes in bowel movements
  • Increased abdominal girth
  • Tiredness
  • Low energy
  • Changes in menstruation

Keep an eye on your health and if you notice any changes in your body that strike you as unusual, seek medical attention. It's better to have your symptoms checked out and identified as something simple than to not seek medical care and find cancer in an advanced stage.

Parkridge Health System offers a wide variety of women's health services. Make an appointment with a knowledgeable and experienced physician today should you have any questions or concerns about your current health.