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.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.