September 2018: #OvarianCancerAwarenessMonth

Most people in the world’s population today are in touch directly or indirectly with someone who has suffered from ovarian cancer. The effects of this disease can be devastating to the victim’s family and friends.

In 2015 alone, there were over 1.2 million cases of ovarian cancer reported. From these, close to 170,000 lost their lives to this devastating disease.

The Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month reminds the population of those that go through the pain of being a victim every day. It is also a reminder that cure is yet to be found and thus increase on the preventive as well as management measures. It is important for one to realize early by watching the early signs, to improve the management which includes eliminating it early before it becomes fatal.

What you need to know about Ovarian Cancer

Primarily, ovarian cancer affects women who are 50 years and above. The genetic predisposition is usually higher in many of those affected by it.

Ovarian cancer is one of the common class of gynaecological cancers alongside cervical and uterine cancer. It grows when malignant cells become cancerous and grow in the ovary.

The ovaries form part of the female reproductive system. The di-organs are located in the lower abdomen one on each side of the uterus. The organs’ purpose is to produce eggs (ova) prior to fertilization by male sperms. They also produce feminine hormones, i.e oestrogen and progesterone.

Three types of Ovarian Cancer exist, classified according to their cell origin. Epithelial tumours (most common) originate from the growth of cells on the outer surface of the ovaries. Epithelial tumours are difficult to diagnose in the early stages since sometimes the growth begin as non-cancerous tumours. Germ cell tumours begin in the ova-producing cells and examples include endodermal sinus tumours, teratomas and dysgerminomas. These types are most common in younger women as early as 20 years. Stromal carcinomas are rare and develop in the ovary-holding connective tissue.

One of the tenets of ovarian cancer that make it dangerous is the fact that its symptoms are undetectable until its late stages. This is a painful truth because, when diagnosed early, can often be successfully treated, yet there is no screening for ovarian cancer. The sign and symptoms, if they happen early, can be very vague.

These early signs and symptoms can include bloating and constipation, pelvic, back, or abdominal pain, trouble eating or feeling full quickly, shortness of breath and fatigue, swelling of the legs, and urinary urgency or frequency. Share with your doctor symptoms that persist for over two weeks.

It is important to share family medical history with relevant healthcare providers. This is not just the history of ovarian cancer, but other types of cancers as well. The presence of other types of cancers in the family history may actually indicate an increased aetiology of ovarian cancer.

Survival rates for ovarian cancer patients

Early diagnosis is critical to an early intervention. According to research, five-year survival rates are a little grim, with less than 50% of patients surviving beyond five years. However, 93% of women who are diagnosed early survive beyond five years with a good percentage surviving the whole scare of ovarian cancer. Medical practitioners and oncologists world over are taking seriously research leading to effective screening and developing effective treatment options.

Meanwhile, the cancer awareness month is in place to increase symptom awareness, a venture looking to improve survival rate. The society must work together to call to action every patient’s survival by improving prevention and management.

Apart from just sharing knowledge of ovarian cancer alongside creating a sense of community, the ovarian cancer awareness month 2018 seeks to remind the society to seek the advice of an oncologist at the earliest time possible. It is also very important to seek a gynecologic oncologist to start cancer care right from early detection (diagnosis) to completion of the treatment

Join the movement in observing the Ovarian cancer month!

Observing the Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month reminds us to pay attention to little details that do not seem harmful. These seemingly harmless identifiers need to be checked early. It is better to confirm something is negative rather than wait for it to become carcinogenic.

The best way to observe the ovarian cancer month is to pursue knowledge on the subject. An education on early diagnosis, symptoms, management and treatment is key to a healthy, cancerless life. Additionally, the best way to manage ovarian cancer is to prevent it by knowing the risk factors. This early knowledge will reduce cancer deaths by three quarters (75%).

Whether you are a woman prevalent to ovarian cancer or you have loved ones that are, learning ovarian cancer symptoms is important for everyone, young and old, men and women.

You can also join the movement by supporting a hurting family as a result of ovarian cancer, participating in fundraising activities to raise money for managing ovarian cancer, research and education.

Every little endeavour you put into the movement is a step towards the vision of achieving a 100% survival rate and decreasing the prevalence of ovarian cancer. Don’t let the month go without the facts you need, it may just be what you ever needed to save a life!

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