Is ovarian cancer bigger than cervical cancer? To which is it most often confused with? Are the older age group more likely to have it than the younger age bracket? Here are the top 10 truths you should know about ovarian cancer:
01. You Get A Higher Risk If You’re Overweight
A study in the US has found that overweight women are 80 percent more likely to develop ovarian cancer once they pass the menopausal stage. Health experts and researchers suggest trimming down to a comfortable waist size below 32 inches, or 30 if you can. Doing this will also decrease your chances of developing type 2 diabetes and other heart diseases. Exercise can help in so many ways- you are less likely to develop bowel, breast and ovarian cancer as compared to those who don’t exercise as much.
02. A Screening Test is Under Development
Scientists have found the importance of working on screening tests for ovarian cancer. We might not be seeing any breakthrough anytime soon, but clinical trials are now being conducted on more than 200,000 women. Results and implementation are to be expected during this year or the next.
03. The Pill Might Help
Have you taken your pills regularly over the course of 5 years or more? There may be good news for you. As it turns out, women who do are less likely to develop ovarian cancer.
The risk is reduced by up to 30 percent if an individual has been taking the pill religiously. That same risk is cut by half if one has been taking the pill for 15 years. The benefits of it can last for as long as 30 years. The science and reasoning behind this truth is that the pill stops the ovulation process. Plus, the more children a woman has, the lesser her risk of ovarian cancer, due to the fact that her breastfeeding period is longer than those who have less or none at all.
04. Clear Smears Won’t Help As Much
Contrary to what some might say, a smear test is not a true indication that you’re in the clear. It’s a confusion by itself- pap smears are designed to detect cell changes that could potentially lead to cervical cancer, but it’s inconclusive if used for testing ovarian cancer. The fact is that around 50% of women believe they don’t have ovarian cancer if their smear test shows up passing.
05. Younger Women Can Develop Ovarian Cancer Too
The truth is that ovarian cancer can also afflict younger women, though not as much as women over 50. Some of the symptoms could be misleading and may be connected to endometriosis or fibroids, but check and see if you have a couple of relatives who has had a history of breast or ovarian cancer. The key is in checking for genetic faults.
Research shows how Pakistani, Icelandic, Polish and Jewish women are more prone to developing ovarian cancer. The age factor was surprising, because they developed it at a younger age. If you’re particularly concerned about family history, then by all means have your GP refer you to a genetics clinic for further testing.
06. Ovarian Cancer Is Often Mistaken For IBS
Most general practitioners might not have full knowledge about the kind of symptoms an ovarian cancer patient can exhibit. In 2009, a study was published about how 75% of all GPs weren’t that familiar with the health department guidelines on the proper diagnosis of visible symptoms.
Some GPs might catch the early symptoms, but new research has opened up so many other likely causes. Plus, the symptoms exhibited aren’t just limited to ovarian cancer by themselves. They are common with many other illnesses. Further diagnosis is necessary in order to pinpoint the probable cause. In fact, irritable bowel syndrome is perhaps the most mistaken diagnosis; it affects one out of 5 women and is the most common side effect in hormone replacement therapy.
07. Catching It Early Gives You A Fighting Chance
There’s hope for ovarian cancer patients if they go in for an early checkup. More than 70 percent of all women will survive ovarian cancer if it is treated as early as possible. It’s best that you should know how to detect the early symptoms and act on it ASAP. If you wish, you can visit the online symptoms diary provided by the Ovarian Cancer Action website and take it on your next GP visit.
08. There Are Early Symptoms
Ovarian cancer might be given the title of “silent killer”, but the truth is that the symptoms are there if you listen to your body. Lack of general awareness has become the leading cause of ovarian cancer advancement. The NHS Early Diagnosis and Awareness lists the top early symptoms of ovarian cancer:
– Feeling full on most days and difficulty in eating.
– Persistent bloating and a noticeable increase in tummy size. This is different from gas that comes and goes.
– Persistent stomach or pelvic pain.
Some of the lesser symptoms include back pain, being lethargic all the time, constant diarrhea or constipation and peeing more than usual. Women are unlikely to see these signs as symptoms of ovarian cancer, but here’s an easy trick- If any of these symptoms last for a month or longer, it would be wise to have your GP check for possible ovarian cancer. If not, then great. But if it is, then you’ll have a higher chance of surviving as compared to discovering in the later stages.
09. Ovarian Cancer Is Bigger Than Cervical Cancer
Around 50 percent of all women think that cervical cancer is bigger than ovarian cancer, but that’s not really the case. If we were to compare numbers, then 4,500 women killed by ovarian cancer is greater than less than 1,000 women killed by cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is down because smear tests are available and are widely done.
10. Ovarian Cancer Is The Fifth Leading Cancer In Women
Most people have heard more about other cancer types that afflict women- breast, ovarian and the like, but cervical cancer is currently ranked 5th among the most common cancer in women. The risks vary according to age, lifestyle and genes. A woman has little chance of developing ovarian cancer over the course of her lifetime, but the risk increases as they get more advanced in age.