Unlike other cancers, there is no early detection test for ovarian cancer.
This disease impacts an estimated 1 in 78 women, which is why it’s so important to listen to your body, schedule regular doctor’s appointments, know your family history and understand what symptoms to look out for.
“Make sure your Ob-Gyn or primary care provider is aware of all the symptoms you’re experiencing so they can help you understand what’s normal and what’s not normal,” said Lesley Conrad, MD, CHI Health Gynecologic Oncologist.
If any of the following are new and unusual for you, and have occurred for more than two weeks, it’s time to make an appointment:
- Difficulty eating
- Pelvic / abdominal pain
- Urinary frequency or difficulty
- Menstrual irregularities
A number of risk factors are unavoidable, like a family history of cancer, certain genetic markers and aging/menopause. It’s important to maintain a healthy weight because obesity has also been shown to increase your risk of ovarian cancer, among other diseases.
Experts stress that while these risk factors may increase your chances of developing the disease, it’s not a guarantee. Women with no known risk factors may also get ovarian cancer.
“Every woman should be mindful, because the earlier we can diagnose ovarian cancer, the more likely we are to have a cure through the treatment we provide.”