Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

February 2024
This February, Proactive Physiotherapy are raising funds to support Ovarian Cancer Australia. We will be running a Bake Sale on Wednesday February 28th, as well as selling Uterus socks at reception!
Not only is it important to raise funds for research, it is also important for women to educate themselves about the disease and to take control of their health.
Further information regarding Ovarian Cancer can be found at Ovarian Cancer Australia

What is Ovarian Cancer?

Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that originates in the ovaries, which are the female reproductive organs responsible for producing eggs and hormones. It is the eighth most common cancer among women and the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women. Ovarian cancer often goes undetected in its early stages, making it challenging to treat. However, awareness of its symptoms and risk factors can contribute to early diagnosis and better outcomes.

Risk Factors: Several factors may increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer, including:

1. Age: Ovarian cancer is more common in women over the age of 50, with the highest incidence occurring in women aged 63 and older.

2. Family History: Women with a family history of ovarian, breast, or colorectal cancers may have an increased risk.

3. Inherited Gene Mutations: Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, as well as certain other gene mutations, can elevate the risk of ovarian cancer.

4. Reproductive History: Women who have never been pregnant or have had their first pregnancy after the age of 35 may face a higher risk.

5. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Long-term use of oestrogen-only hormone replacement therapy after menopause may increase the risk.

6. Endometriosis: Women with endometriosis, a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus, may be at a higher risk.

Symptoms: Ovarian cancer is often called the "silent killer" because its symptoms are subtle and can be easily overlooked. Common symptoms include:

1. Pelvic Pain: Persistent pain or discomfort in the pelvic area.

2. Abdominal Bloating: Feeling of fullness or bloating, often accompanied by changes in bowel habits.

3. Difficulty Eating: Reduced appetite or feeling full quickly.

4. Urinary Urgency: Frequent and urgent need to urinate.

5. Unexplained Weight Loss: Sudden and unexplained weight loss.

6. Fatigue: Ongoing, unexplained fatigue.

Diagnosis: Diagnosing ovarian cancer may involve a combination of medical history review, physical examinations, imaging tests (ultrasound, CT scans), and blood tests (CA-125). In some cases, surgery may be necessary for a definitive diagnosis.

Treatment: Treatment options for ovarian cancer depend on the stage of the disease and may include surgery, chemotherapy, and, in some cases, radiation therapy. Early detection is crucial for more effective treatment.

Prevention: While there is no guaranteed way to prevent ovarian cancer, some steps may help reduce the risk:

1. Oral Contraceptives: Birth control pills have been shown to lower the risk of ovarian cancer.

2. Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Having one or more full-term pregnancies and breastfeeding may reduce the risk.

3. Tubal Ligation: Surgical procedures like tubal ligation (having the fallopian tubes tied) may lower the risk.

4. Healthy Lifestyle: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and a balanced diet, may contribute to overall well-being.

Ovarian cancer is a serious health concern for women, but with increased awareness, early detection, and advancements in treatment, the prognosis for affected individuals can improve. Regular health check-ups, understanding risk factors, and seeking medical attention for persistent symptoms are essential for the early detection and management of ovarian cancer.