September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
Ovarian cancer is often called “the whispering cancer” because there is no reliable screening test and symptoms are vague, usually not showing up until later stages of the disease. Unfortunately an estimated 21,750 women in our country will receive this diagnosis this year. So, early detection is key.
Currently, researchers are looking for new methods to screen for ovarian cancer, but until a screening test is available, it is vital for women to know their risks and recognize the symptoms. Abnormal bloating or swelling, digestive problems, pelvic pressure, back or leg pain or unusual vaginal bleeding are all reasons to consult a healthcare provider. Additionally, all women should have annual vaginal exams beginning at age 18.
1 in 78 women will get ovarian cancer, and nearly 70% of those women are diagnosed in advanced stages. Ovarian cancer is the 5th leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women. The Pap Test does not detect ovarian cancer, so it’s important to listen to your body and know the signs.