Important facts every woman should know about ovarian cancer

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According to the American Cancer Society, around 22 000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and 14 000 die from the disease, every year.  50% of women who develop ovarian cancer are over the age of 60, but this doesn’t mean that it won’t happen to you if you are younger.

ALSO SEE: The facts about polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)

A family history of breast or ovarian cancer, genetic mutations such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, obesity, or a BMI of at least 30 can all increase your chances of getting it. Your risk is also increased if you’re older than 40 and post-menopausal.

 Only 15% of ovarian cancers are diagnosed at stage 1

Heres important facts you should know to identify and reduce your risk of getting ovarian cancer.

Symptoms

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
  • Feeling the need to urinate urgently or often
  • Fatigue
  • Upset stomach
  • Back pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Constipation or menstrual changes

 A Pap test doesn’t detect ovarian cancer

 How to reduce your risk

  • Your risk can be reduced by 50% if you take birth control pills consistently for five or more years.
  • Follow a diet with foods rich in vitamins A, D and E such as leafy greens, nuts, beans, eggs, sweet potatoes, carrots and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Get screened for genetic factors including BRCA1 and BRCA2.
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Don’t use talcum powder on or near your genitals.

Visit consumersafety.org for more information.

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