Cancer alone has become a threatening word, with no known cure, and the disease becoming more and more prevalent around the world. Ovarian cancer has cause for alarm because it often creeps up silently, leaving few symptoms or evidence of its presence until it has spread throughout the body. However, despite popular belief, there are warning signs and preventative measures you can take to lower your risk of developing the disease.
Women everywhere need to be better informed about cancers of the reproductive system, like ovarian cancer, but more so about how to protect themselves from contracting them. Read on for information on what to look for and avoid in order to put up a defense against ovarian cancer.
Though symptoms are far and few in between, or so vague that they are mistaken to be the result of some other condition, some of the warning signs to look out for are fever, back pain, abdominal cramps, fatigue, gas and sharp femoral pains lasting more than three weeks.
- Talcum powder and products containing talc, when applied to the vaginal area, have been known to increase a woman’s risk for ovarian cancer by an astounding 60 percent! Even more staggering is the fact that powder deodorant sprays increase a woman’s risk by 90 percent! So talc products should be avoided at all costs.
- High-fat diets greatly contribute to a woman’s risk. Obese women are more likely to contract the disease and not notice the signs, since obesity brings with it other hormonal and systemic problems.
- Close family members who have or have had ovarian or breast cancer significantly raises your risk, so you should start being tested twice a year instead of annually if you are 25 years of age or older.
- If you have never been pregnant, you are at greater risk. The process of ovulation perpetuates the likelihood of contracting the disease, and when you are pregnant ovulation is temporarily suspended; your risks are reduced by 40 percent during pregnancy and breastfeeding is an added bonus of protection.
Steps For Prevention
Ask your doctor when you go for your annual physical and pelvic exams, to also perform these tests on you to screen for ovarian cancer:
- CA125 Blood Test – When a woman is in the early stages of ovarian cancer, protein levels in the blood are usually elevated in half of all cases and nearly 100 percent of all cases during the advanced stages. When you are at risk for the disease, you should always get these tests at your annual checkup.
- Vaginal Ultrasound (And Other Similar Tests When Necessary) – Vaginal ultrasounds detect what normal ultrasounds miss. Further tests should be administered for further probing if ultrasounds raise any red flags.
In addition to these tests, women at risk should pay attention to the risk factors and do what they can to stamp those out, wherever possible, as well as the following:
- Get Your Tubes Tied – If you are beyond your childbearing years or through having children, undergoing tubal ligation is an option that lowers your risk by up to 71 percent.
Knowledge is power, so learn all you can about ovarian cancer and then take every measure to fight back and prevent it from overtaking you.