7 Lifesaving Facts About Ovarian Cancer That Women Should Know

The rate at which women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer has fallen over the past 20 years, yet ovarian cancer remains the fifth most common cancer affecting women. Here are seven facts on ovarian cancer that women should know in order to stay safe.

The risk of developing ovarian cancer decreases the longer women uses birth control pills

Researchers have found that women who on the pill for 5 or more years lower their risk of developing ovarian cancer by approximately 50 percent compared to women who never use oral contraceptives.



The risk of getting ovarian cancer goes down with each full term pregnancy

Women who have been pregnant before age 26 and carried it to term have a lower risk of ovarian cancer than women who have their first full-term pregnancy after age 35 or never carry a pregnancy to term. Women who are infertile also may also be at higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.



Research suggests that fertility drugs may increase the risk of developing ovarian tumors

In a groundbreaking study involving more than 250,000 women, researchers analyzed IVF procedures recorded by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) between 1991 and 2010. Compared to women in the UK of the same age range an increased risk of ovarian cancer existed, and the risk of developing ovarian cancer was highest the first three years following IVF treatment.



Ovarian cancer symptoms often mimic symptoms of bladder and digestive system disorders, and can be misdiagnosed with other less severe illnesses

Talk to your doctor if you frequently experience one or more of the following symptoms within a three week period:

  • Persistent abdominal bloating – increased abdominal size doesn’t come and go
  • Bowel changes – persistent indigestion and gas
  • Increased urinary urgency – need to worry pass urine more frequently or urgently
  • Loss of appetite – feel full quickly, have difficulty eating
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Low back pain
  • Persistent lack of energy



Pap smear tests are not effective in detecting ovarian cancer

It is a common misconception amongst women today that pap smear tests are effective in detecting ovarian cancer. Rarely, pap tests reveal ovarian cancer at a late metastatic stage. As a preventive measure, pap smear tests are ineffective at detecting early stage ovarian cancer.



93 percent of women diagnosed with Ovarian cancer before it spreads to their regional lymph nodes or becomes metastatic have a 5 year survival rate

Five years is the standard length of time that survival is measured when assessing cancer treatments. Ovarian cancer is classified as metastatic when it spreads from its initial area of origin to other parts of the body, such as a woman’s lymph nodes or abdominal cavity.



The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends against asymptomatic women who are not at high risk for ovarian cancer being screened

Testing for ovarian cancer potentially do more harm than good with current testing methods leading to “false positives” and risky surgeries. Women with genetic mutations known to increase the risk for ovarian cancer are not included in this recommendation. That said, ovarian cancer is rarely diagnosed in its early stages and the overwhelming majority of women (85 percent) are diagnosed with ovarian cancer after its spread throughout the body. It is important that women who show symptoms of ovarian cancer talk to their doctor immediately.

While there is no official screening for ovarian cancer, it can be detected with a combination of three tests:

  • OVA1 blood test: Determines if a tumor is malignant.
  • CA-125 blood test: Assesses level of a protein CA-125 in the body. This protein exists in higher concentration in cancerous cells. Though not a reliable early detection test, this blood test is helpful in monitoring the response of malignant tumors to treatment.
  • Transvaginal ultrasound: Diagnostic test that allows physicians to examine women’s reproductive organs.

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This information is not designed to replace advice from a mental health professional or physician on the appropriateness or risks of a procedure or treatment for a given patient. Always consult your doctor with medical or mental health concerns. Revivallhealth.com does not provide medical or mental health advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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