This year, thousands of American women—our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, daughters, and friends—will die from ovarian cancer. During September, we observe National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month to recognize those who have died and recommit ourselves to helping the women who are fighting for their health.
Every year, more than 20,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, which is the fifth leading cause of cancer death for women and accounts for more than 14,000 deaths a year.
The administration advances scientific research to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment. When ovarian cancer is found in its early stages, treatment is most effective, but, there is currently no proven method to screen for ovarian cancer in women.
That is why awareness is key to women’s survival. Ovarian cancer often does have signs and symptoms, so it is important to pay attention to your body –to be aware– and know what is normal for you. If you have vaginal bleeding that is not normal for you, see a doctor right away. Also see your health care provider if you have any of the other signs that are not normal for you, such as pain in the pelvic or abdominal area or bloating, for two weeks or longer.
Know your risk factors. All women are at risk for ovarian cancer, but older women are more likely to get the disease than younger women. There are some factors that may increase your risk, including if you have genetic mutations calledBRCA1 or BRCA2, have had certain cancers, breast, uterine, or have never given birth or have had trouble getting pregnant.
Having any of these symptoms or factors does not mean you have or will get ovarian cancer. But you should speak with your health care professional about your risk and whether you need genetic counseling and further examination.