Understanding Ovarian Cancer: Prevention and Awareness

Prevention & Awareness

September 19, 2023

Ovarian cancer is often called the “silent killer” because it can develop without noticeable symptoms until it reaches an advanced stage. At Grand Lake Regional Cancer Center, we are committed to providing information and support to patients and raising awareness about all different cancer types, but this blog will focus on ovarian cancer. This blog will dive into what you need to know about ovarian cancer, including risk factors, prevention strategies, and early detection.

What is Ovarian Cancer? Ovarian cancer begins in the ovaries, the female reproductive organs responsible for producing eggs and hormones. It can develop in different types of cells within the ovaries and is often categorized into epithelial, germ cell, or stromal tumors. Epithelial ovarian cancer is the most common type and tends to occur in older women.

Risk Factors: While ovarian cancer has no known cause, several risk factors may increase the likelihood of developing it. These include:

  • Age: Ovarian cancer is more common in women over 50.
  • Family History: A family history of ovarian, breast, or colon cancer can raise the risk.
  • Inherited Gene Mutations: Mutations in genes like BRCA1 and BRCA2 increase the risk significantly.
  • Reproductive Factors: Factors like never giving birth or having a first child after age 35 can be associated with a higher risk.
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Long-term use of estrogen-only HRT may increase the risk.

Prevention Strategies:

  • Know Your Family History: Understanding your family’s cancer history can help assess your risk and determine if genetic counseling and testing are necessary.
  • Oral Contraceptives: Some studies suggest that long-term use of birth control pills can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Having children and breastfeeding may lower the risk of ovarian cancer.
  • Tubal Ligation or Hysterectomy: Surgical procedures like tubal ligation or hysterectomy can reduce the risk.
  • Healthy Lifestyle Choices: Maintaining a healthy weight, regular physical activity, and a balanced diet can contribute to overall well-being and potentially reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.

Early Detection and Symptoms: Ovarian cancer is challenging to detect in its early stages because symptoms are often vague and can mimic other common conditions. Some common symptoms include:

  • Abdominal bloating or swelling
  • Pelvic pain or discomfort
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Frequent urination
  • Loss of appetite or feeling full quickly
  • Fatigue

Pay attention to persistent symptoms and consult a healthcare professional if you experience any of these.

Ovarian cancer is a formidable opponent, but knowledge and awareness are powerful tools in the fight against it. By understanding risk factors, adopting preventive measures, and recognizing potential symptoms, we can collectively work towards early detection and better patient outcomes. For more information about ovarian cancer, visit >> https://ovarian.org/ 

If you have concerns about ovarian cancer or are interested in genetic counseling and testing, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Grand Lake Regional Cancer Center. We are here to provide support, guidance, and comprehensive care on your journey to wellness. Together, we can make strides in ovarian cancer awareness and prevention.