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.
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
Here’s important facts you should know to identify and reduce your risk of getting ovarian cancer.
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
- Feeling the need to urinate urgently or often
- 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.