5 Things You Need to Know about Ovarian Cancer

Throughout the year, cancer prevention and research activists—along with patients, survivors, and families—come together to educate the public about the many forms of cancer, efforts to advance treatment, and ways to support those battling the disease. This September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, an opportunity for all people—both women and men—to learn about the condition and the ways that women can protect themselves and their loved ones.

Stay Informed During Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

To support Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, commit to broadening your own education with these five facts about the disease:

  1. Ovarian cancer affects the female reproductive organs and shows itself in several different forms, including on the stomal cells that release estrogen and progesterone, the germ cells that produce eggs or the surface epithelial cells, which account for 90% of ovarian cancer cases.
  2. The disease overwhelmingly affects older women: About two-thirds of cases are seen in women ages 50-75, and just 5% in those under 30. It is the second-most common gynecological cancer, affecting about one in every 70 women in the United States.
  3. There are a number of factors that can increase a woman’s risk for ovarian cancer, including inheriting the BRCA1 or 2 genes, endometriosis, and family history.
  4. Symptoms include weight changes, abdominal pain, changes to urination and bowel patterns, vaginal bleeding between periods, lack of appetite, and more. Women with persistent symptoms are urged to contact a physician and undergo a pelvic exam.
  5. Because ovarian cancer often develops slowly and symptoms gradually progress, it can be difficult to diagnose, leading many women to develop advanced forms of the disease. As such, it is the deadliest form of cancer among women.

With the high risk for ovarian cancer to develop undetected, Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month can be critical to helping women to become their own advocates. By educating themselves and their loved ones about the risk factors for and symptoms of ovarian cancer, women are able to take proactive steps to reduce their own risk. This Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, make sure you and the women in your lives learn about the disease and support research to curb its spread.

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