What should you know about ovarian cancer?
Many women are keen to eat well, exercise regularly, and have annual checkups, which include screenings for cervical cancer (pap smears) and breast cancer (mammograms). But there is a cancer that silently kills women: ovarian cancer. why? Largely because he does not have a screening test and his symptoms are largely unknown to women.
In fact, of the five main types of gynecological cancers (cervix, ovary, uterus, vagina, and vulva), only cervical cancer is screened. This is why it is so important for women to recognize the warning signs of the disease at an early stage.
the silent killer
Ovarian cancer is often called the “silent killer” because its symptoms are easy to overlook, or simply attributed to “aging” in perimenopause and menopausal women. Symptoms, such as persistent bloating, abdominal pain, acid reflux/heartburn, and a change in urination frequency, sometimes lead to testing for unrelated problems, including irritable bowel syndrome or gallbladder disease, delaying treatment for real cancer.
It is not uncommon for women who have recently had ovarian cancer to look back and discover that they have had symptoms for 12 months or longer. Unfortunately, by that time, the cancer may be in the third or fourth stage, reducing the chances of long-term survival.
Ovarian cancer is generally treated in two phases: slimming, in which a gynecological oncologist surgically removes as much of the tumor as possible, followed by chemotherapy. For patients who can undergo surgery and chemotherapy, the chance of survival increases dramatically seven years after diagnosis.
Four tips for early detection
I encourage all women to follow these four tips to help detect ovarian cancer early.
Get a Pap test. While this test will not detect ovarian cancer, it can detect precancerous or precancerous cells in the cervix. Cervical cancer is the most preventable and treatable type of cancer in women. If all women over age 21 had a routine Pap test as recommended by their doctor, there would be a 90 percent reduction in cervical cancer, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. It is important to note that although the recommended frequency of cervical cancer smears have decreased, this does not mean that women do not have to undergo it again.
Undergo a rectal exam. Often seen as a “man’s test” because it is used to detect an enlarged prostate, a digital rectal exam can also detect abnormalities in women, including ovarian cancer. A digital rectal exam is a good way for a doctor to check female organs, including enlarged ovaries.
Get to know your body. Nobody knows you better than you, so if you don’t usually experience bloating or abdominal pain, tell your doctor and get answers. Be the advocate for your health.
Find a specialist. If you are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, it is important to see a gynecological oncologist, a trained specialist who is experienced in treating not only the disease, but the entire patient.