Submitted by the Oswego County Health Department
September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
According to Dr. Dennis Norfleet, Oswego County Director of Public Health, there is currently no reliable screening test for ovarian cancer for women who have no symptoms.
â€œThis is why it is especially important for women to have a yearly gynecological exam and discuss their risks with their doctor,â€ said Dr. Norfleet. â€œIf ovarian cancer is found in its early stages, treatment is more likely to be effective.â€
The symptoms of ovarian cancer are not acute or intense, especially in early stages, but there are some symptoms of ovarian cancer that women should be aware of. These symptoms include bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, trouble eating or feeling full quickly, feeling the need to urinate urgently or often, and fatigue. Others include upset stomach or heartburn, back pain, constipation and menstrual changes.
There are certain risk factors for ovarian cancer; they include being middle-aged or older, having close family members (like your mother, sister, aunt, or grandmother) on either your motherâ€™s or your fatherâ€™s side who have had ovarian cancer, having had breast, uterine, or colorectal cancer, having never given birth, having had trouble getting pregnant or having endometriosis.
â€œNinety percent of women who get ovarian cancer are over age 40. It is important for middle-aged women to pay attention to their bodies and discuss any changes with their healthcare provider,â€ said Dr. Norfleet.
Eating healthy, exercising and limiting alcohol and tobacco are just a few things women can do to help protect themselves from ovarian and several other cancers. For more information about ovarian cancer, call the Oswego County Health Department, weekdays, at 349-3547 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3547.