Your Monthly Check-Up: September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Each year, over 22,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. In 2013, approximately 14,230 women in the US will die from ovarian cancer. Known as a “silent” killer, ovarian cancer often shows no symptoms until it has entered its advanced stages when not much can be done.

Ovarian cancer is very treatable if detected early enough; however, it often goes untreated for long periods of time due to lack of or confusing symptoms or misdiagnosis. During September and all year, it is important to be aware of the symptoms of the disease that kills more women than other female reproductive cancers and what can be done to reduce women’s risk as much as possible.

If you experience any of the following symptoms for longer than two to three weeks, even if you think it’s minor, be sure to see your doctor to rule out ovarian cancer:

  • Gas or bloating, a feeling of fullness in the pelvis
  • Frequent or urgent urination
  • Nausea, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea
  • Menstrual disorders or abnormal pain or discomfort
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Unexplained back pain that gets worse 

The five-year survival rate is more than 93 percent if ovarian cancer is detected early enough. Get to know your body and pay attention to what it’s telling you. Don’t ignore the signs no matter how “minor” you believe they are. And follow these simple tips to stay healthy and reduce your risk of ovarian and other types of cancers and serious diseases: 

  • Adopt healthy eating habits; limit sugary, starchy and overly processed foods
  • Get plenty of sleep and relaxation
  • Don’t smoke
  • Minimize your alcohol consumption
  • Get regular exercise

Since the signs aren’t crystal clear, it is important to get the word out about this deadly but treatable cancer. During September and all year long, wear teal to show your support and raise awareness about ovarian cancer.

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