By Mary Urban
approximately 22,380 women in the United States diagnosed and 15,500 deaths
projected for 2012 by the American Cancer Society, ovarian cancer is the deadliest of all gynecologic cancers.
It ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women. All women are at risk for ovarian
there is no early-detection test for ovarian cancer and pap tests do not detect
the disease. If detected and treated early, when the cancer is confined to the
ovary, the five-year survival rate is over 90 percent. Unfortunately, less than
20 percent are diagnosed early and over 70 percent of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer will
not survive the disease.
Ovarian cancer is difficult to detect, especially in the early stages. This is partly
due to the fact that these two small, almond shaped organs are deep within the
abdominal cavity, one on each side of the uterus. These are some of the
potential signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer:
or abdominal pain
eating or feeling full quickly
the need to urinate urgently or often
symptoms of ovarian cancer can include:
stomach or heartburn
or menstrual changes
an early-detection test is developed, the key is awareness
of the subtle symptoms of ovarian cancer. Encourage the women in your life to
talk to a gynecologist when symptoms persist or worsen over time. Tell her to
ask for a recto-vaginal exam or a transvaginal ultrasound, which are tests that
can help lead to a diagnosis of ovarian cancer.
cancer does not affect only the life of the woman with the disease; it affects
her entire community – from family and friends, to co-workers and acquaintances.
The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) provides information and support to
everyone affected by ovarian cancer, because ovarian cancer is more than a
more information on ovarian cancer, or to get involved to raise awareness and
support ovarian cancer survivors, please contact the National Ovarian Cancer
Coalition at 888-OVARIAN or www.ovarian.org.
we can make a difference in the lives of women affected by ovarian cancer.
Together, we can break the silence on ovarian cancer.
Urban is the Pittsburgh
Chapter Manager of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition.