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Diagnosing ovarian cancer in its early stages is the difference between a 5-year relative survival rate of 92% and a 5-year relative survival rate of 47%, according to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. Unfortunately, ovarian cancer is extremely difficult to detect until it has already spread.
“It earned its name ‘silent killer’ for a reason. Symptoms are hard to detect or easy to explain away, and there is no screening test for ovarian cancer. But knowing the risks and symptoms associated with this disease can provide an advantage in diagnosing it early,” said Lauren Krill, M.D., a gynecologic oncologist at Inspira Medical Center Vineland.
Ovarian cancer is the fifth-leading cause of cancer deaths among women. With ovarian cancer, cancer cells develop in or around the ovaries, such as near the fallopian tubes.
Several factors play a large role in your predisposition to developing this disease. For example, advanced age, obesity, having children later in life and family history have all been linked to increasing your risk of ovarian cancer.
“Ovarian cancer symptoms range from bloating, pain in the abdominal region, difficulty eating and trouble using the restroom, to fatigue, back pain and constipation,” said Dr. Krill. “While these symptoms can mimic other disorders, if you experience them persistently, you should speak with a health care provider immediately.”
Though it is difficult to prevent ovarian cancer, a lower risk of ovarian cancer has been linked to those who have used oral contraception for more than five years, had a hysterectomy, given birth and breastfed.
Treating ovarian cancer is dependent upon the stage and extent of the cancer–namely where the cells are in the body. While surgery or chemotherapy may be a viable option for some, talking to your doctor is the first step in helping you fight ovarian cancer.
“You have to pay attention to your body,” said Dr. Krill. “Listen to your gut. If something feels wrong, don’t be afraid to talk to your provider. It is always better to be safe than sorry.”
If you believe you are experiencing any of the signs or symptoms associated with ovarian cancer, speak with your OB/GYN provider today. You may qualify for genetic testing, pelvic exams, ultrasounds and other diagnostic tests.
Inspira Medical Group offers OB/GYN services in Cumberland, Gloucester, Salem and Camden Counties. Click to find a provider.
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