7 Things Every Woman Needs to Know About Ovarian Cancer
For those who are happily living their lives with the misconstrued idea that ignorance is bliss, perhaps it is time for a rude awakening. The fragility of life is such that the slightest aggravation can lead to serious illnesses or even an untimely death. The best way minimize these events is to capitalize on the endless stream of medical information and implement them into daily routines to enjoy a prolonged lifespan that is free from all health complications.
One of the potential threats to human life is the prevalence of ovarian cancer. Although this condition is only specific to the female population, it is ranked as the fifth most common form of cancer in the world. This terrifying statistic paints a bleak picture for ovarian cancer patients, and the reality of it does not get any better. In 2015 alone, approximately 22,280 women in the United States will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Within the same time frame, there will be 14,240 deaths caused by this disease as well.
Be Smart, Know The Risks!
Healthy news media characterizes the risk factors related to ovarian cancer as anything that increases its chances of occurring. Unfortunately, every woman is exposed to a certain degree of developing ovarian cancer. This is part of the natural process and cannot be overwritten. Other factors that come into the picture include post-menopausal, obesity and the use of fertility drugs. Women who are above the age of 65 experience an increased risk of illnesses and diseases, with no exception to ovarian cancer while scientists have established a positive relationship between obese women and the possibility of developing ovarian cancer. Compared to women who have their families, those who prescribe to fertility drugs expose themselves to the possibility of ovarian cancer as well.
Last but not least, a study conducted by the Myriad Genetic Laboratories, Salt Lake City, United States, also offers an insightful finding that suggests family heredity plays a part in predicting the risks association with ovarian cancer due to the mutations in BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes.
One of the most important facts to acknowledge is the survival rate of ovarian cancer. A positive diagnosis of this disease at different stages is strongly influential in determining the chances of a full recovery. For instance, the 5-year survival rate shows that only 46% of the patients were able to overcome this illness. The further investigation highlights a 58% survival rate for women under 65 and a lowered rate of 28% for the remaining patients.
In cases where the cancer cells are confined to the ovaries, the chances of survival are magnified to 92%. Unfortunately, only 15% of ovarian cancers are diagnosed at this stage. If the cancer cells have spread to the surrounding areas of the ovaries, the 5-year survival rate drops to 73% and decreases significantly to 28% if allowed to escalate to distant parts of the body.
Sadly, 62% of ovarian cancer is only detected when it has metastasized. This highlights the need for women to be aware of their individual risk levels and to take preventive measures to protect themselves from this disease.
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Symptoms and Treatments
To complicate matters, early stages of ovarian cancer have been proven to be exceptionally adept at escaping detection. This is due to the ovaries being buried within the abdomen and any symptoms originating from it tend to be drowned out as it struggles to find its way to the surface. Nonetheless, medical professionals have highlighted the common symptoms that could potentially indicate the presence of cancer cells in the ovaries.
- Trouble eating or frequent feeling of satiation
- Increased urination frequency or constant urgency
- Abdominal or pelvic discomfort / pain
As seen above, these general symptoms might not necessarily lead indicate ovarian cancer, but they do signal an increased possibility of its existence. An onset of any of these symptoms out of the blue and which persists for more than two weeks should be brought to the attention of a gynecologist immediately.
Regarding treatment options, the most effective option is a combination of chemotherapy and surgery. Naturally, these treatment methods should only be prescribed by a certified health professional. For surgical treatments, it might be wise to consult with a gynecologic oncologist rather that a general gynecologist. On the other hand, chemotherapy for ovarian cancer is well tolerated as compared to chemotherapy for other illnesses. However, patients are still susceptible to temporary hair loss, numbness in their limbs, and increased levels of fatigue.
Without undermining the severity of ovarian cancer, women should be made aware that a positive diagnosis does not equate to a death sentence. Even for patients who are diagnosed at the later stages of this disease can be put into remission and resume their normal way of life. Ultimately, a combination of early detection and effective treatments can aid in preventing this scenario from turning into a nightmare.
Kathy Mitchell was born and raised in the USA. She has done MA in English literature. She loves to publish her article on different health websites. In her spare time, she likes to do research on health information. She is an inspirational writer who strongly believe in the power of self-motivation. Also, she is contributing to Consumer Health Digest since 2011. Connect with her on Facebook and twitter.