Ovarian Cancer is a silent killer, which is often not diagnosed until it is well advanced.
Ovarian cancer will kill about 1050 women in Australia in 2019. It is not as common as other cancers such as breast or bowel, but nevertheless is the 8th most common kind of cancer affecting women in our country.
If 100 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in Australia today, only about 46 of them will be alive after 5 years.
Who gets ovarian cancer?
Women over the age of 50 or those with a family history of ovarian cancer are at higher risk of getting ovarian cancer. However, women of all ages can get ovarian cancer.
How do I know if I have got ovarian cancer?
The problem with ovarian cancer is that there is no really good way to make an early diagnosis ie. there is no screening test currently available.
The symptoms caused by ovarian cancer can be very non-specific and are common in the general population, such as bloating, back pain or frequent urination.
Keep a Symptom Diary
If you do have regular symptoms, diaries are a great way of helping you communicate better with your doctor.
A symptom diary can help your doctor to understand exactly how the problem is affecting your life by quantifying the level of discomfort and how often it occurs.
This information is really useful for your GP, or women’s health specialist doctor, who is the best person to order further investigations, which may include imaging or blood tests.
If symptoms persist, don't ignore them
Most women who experience symptoms such as bloating, back pain and urinary frequency, will not have ovarian cancer! However, if symptoms persist, don’t ignore them! Make an appointment to see your doctor to discuss what the possible causes may be.
You can see any of the doctors at Clinic 66 to discuss any concerns you may have about ovarian cancer or any other women’s health issues.
And if you can’t get to the clinic in person, video consults are available. Just call our clinic for more information about this option.
Can ovarian cancer be prevented? Yes, No & Maybe!
Lifestyle can increase or reduce all types of cancer risk; you need to avoid smoking and drinking excessive alcohol, maintain a healthy weight and take regular exercise. These lifestyle measures help reduce cancer risk.
However, genes cannot be altered, and if you have a genetic type which makes you more likely to get cancer, eg BRCA gene, then you may want to consider surgery. Don't delay. Make an appointment to discuss this further with your GP.