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According to the American Cancer Society, there are about 21,900 new cases of ovarian cancer and 15,460 deaths due to the disease per year. 80% of those are already in the later stages. It’s time for a change!

Message From Marli - Ovarian Cancer


Early Detection (Marli's Message)
NEVER ignore symptoms of any kind! The symptoms of ovarian cancer usually mimic those of less life-threatening diseases, so doctors have a hard time diagnosing ovarian cancer merely from the symptoms. They vary for each person and can seem like those of less life-threatening conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome or bladder disorders.

Listen to your body and insist that your doctor takes your symptoms seriously.

 

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Symptoms include:

  • BLOATING
  • PELVIC/ABDOMINAL PAIN
  • URGE TO URINATE FREQUENTLY
  • DIFFICULTY EATING OR FEELING FULL QUICKLY
  • PROBLEMS WITH INDIGESTION
  • UNEXPLAINED BOWEL CHANGES
  • CONSTANT FATIGUE OR BACK PAIN
  • CONSTIPATION OR DIARRHEA
  • MENSTRUAL IRREGULARITIES
  • PAIN DURING INTERCOURSE

The only tests that will be able to properly diagnose Ovarian Cancer are:

  • The Bimanual Pelvic Exam, which is a complete pelvic exam consists of a recto-vaginal exam feeling the uterus, vagina, ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, and rectum to find any abnormality in shape and size.
  • Ca125 Blood test, or a blood test used to measure the level of the CA-125, a tumor marker that is often found in higher-than-normal amounts in the blood of women with ovarian cancer. If it comes back progressively more elevated each time, even if the values are low, this is an indication that the condition could very likely be serious.
  • Transvaginal Ultrasound, referring to the use of high-frequency sound waves. These waves, which cannot be heard by humans, are aimed at the ovaries. The pattern of the echoes they produce creates a picture called a sonogram. Healthy tissues, fluid-filled cysts, and tumors look different on this picture.
  • Lower GI series, or Barium Enema which is a series of the colon and rectum. The pictures are taken after the patient is given an enema with a white, chalky solution containing barium. The barium outlines the colon and rectum on the x-ray, making tumors or other abnormal areas easier to see.
  • CT (or CAT) scan, which is a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body created by a computer linked to an x-ray machine.

Ovarian Cancer is the deadliest gynecologic cancer and the fifth leading cause of death in women in the United States. It is known as the "silent killer" because once symptoms become evident, the disease has advanced to the most dangerous levels.

Ovarian Cancer is a cancer that often begins in the cells that make up the ovaries and is a disease produced by the rapid growth and division of cells within one or both ovaries-reproductive glands in which the ova, or eggs, and the female sex hormones are made. The ovaries contain cells that, under normal circumstances, reproduce to maintain tissue health. When growth control is lost and cells divide too much and too fast, a cellular mass-or tumor- is formed. If the tumor is confined to a few layers, for example, surface cells, and it does not invade surrounding tissues or organs, it is considered benign. If the cancer spreads to the surrounding tissues or organs, it is considered malignant, or cancerous. When cancerous cells break away from the original tumor, travel through the blood or lymphatic vessels, and grow within other parts of the body, the process is called metastasis.

STATISTICS:

  • Ovarian cancer occurs in approximately 1 out of 71 women-regardless of age.
  • Over 21,600 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and more than 15,500 will die of the disease every year.
  • Unfortunately, due to ovarian cancer's non-specific symptoms and lack of early detection test, approximately 80% of those will have been diagnosed Stage III or Stage IV.
  • A variety of studies have shown that women diagnosed at an early stage have an approximate 80%-90% five-year survival rate.
  • Those diagnosed at a later stage have a five-year survival rate of roughly 5%-18%.

RISK FACTORS:

  • A past history of breast cancer or a past history of ovarian cancer in your immediate family.
  • If a relative has previously had breast or ovarian cancer, there is a 10-15% chance of you being diagnosed with it as well.
  • Being over the age of 50
  • Race-ovarian cancer occurs 50% more frequently in white women than African American women
  • People of Eastern European/Jewish descent
  • Hormone replacement therapy in post-menopausal women
  • Exposure to/use of talc or asbestos, or frequent use of douches, condoms, dusting powder, feminine hygiene sprays or sanitary napkins used in the genital area.
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