March is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month (OCAM) and a time different support groups and charities come together in order to raise awareness of the symptoms and causes of ovarian cancer at a global level. Educating women about the symptoms saves lives, as it is vital to get diagnosed at an early stage.
Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer in women with around 7,000 new cases diagnosed just in the UK each year. Three-quarters of women in the UK are diagnosed once the disease has already spread, which makes the treatment more challenging. This is the reason why raising awareness is crucial, as it directly impacts the detection, treatment and ultimately survival in women all over the world.
What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer?
There are 4 symptoms of ovarian cancer: persistent stomach pain, persistent bloating, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, needing to wee more frequently. But the easiest way to remember them is this:
B – is bloating
E – is for eating difficulty
A – is for abdominal and pelvic pain
T – is for toilet changes
How does ovarian cancer occur?
When the abnormal cells in the ovary begin to multiply, they create a tumour, which can either be malignant or benign. If the tumour is malignant (cancerous) and is left unchecked, it can spread to other organs in the body and be fatal.
So, it is of the utmost importance that you know the symptoms and causes, as it may save one’s life.
What causes ovarian cancer?
There are many risks for getting ovarian cancer, such as smoking, longevity in menstrual history, reproductive choices, etc… but two main factors that determine whether a female will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer or not are her genetics and age.
Genetics: If a woman has more than two relatives in her family that have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer or breast cancer under the age of 50, she may be at a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer herself. However, this may not be the case.
Ovarian Cancer Action has generated the Hereditary Cancer Risk Tool which helps women assess whether their family history puts them at risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Age: Ovarian cancer is associated with age, and there is currently around 84% of cases where women over the age of 50 have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and more than half of all cases in women over 65, in the UK. It is important to understand that women of all ages can get ovarian cancer and should be aware of the symptoms.
Field Scope International has joined the initiative and developed series of materials for raising awareness such as our series of videos titled ‘’Know The Symptoms.’’
In these videos, we will be covering the main symptoms as well as emphasizing the importance of further steps for anyone that might be experiencing said symptoms.
How can you help? The answer is – by sharing. Talk about it as much as you can. Educating women on the early symptoms may be the way to save someone’s life.
Talk to your friends, post on social media, but let’s raise our voices together.
You never know who is listening.