Image via Wikipedia
September is Ovarian Cancer Month, represented by a teal ribbon.
Ovarian cancer is dangerous because it isn’t easy to recognize. It has been called a silent killer, because the symptoms are so vague, often mimicking more common problems. But there are symptoms that should be known:
- Pressure or pain in the abdomen, pelvis, back, or legs
- A swollen or bloated abdomen
- Nausea, indigestion, gas, constipation, or diarrhea
- Feeling very tired all the time
Most often these symptoms are not due to cancer, but only a doctor can tell for sure. Any woman with these symptoms should tell her doctor.
Less common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling the need to urinate often
- Unusual vaginal bleeding (heavy periods, or bleeding after menopause)
From the National Cancer Institute
The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance says:
Each year in the United States, more than 21,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and about 15,000 women die of the disease. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 21,550 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in the United States during 2009. 14,600 deaths are expected to be caused by ovarian cancer in the United States in 2009.
According to the data, the mortality rates for ovarian cancer have not improved in thirty years since the “War on Cancer” was declared. However, other cancers have shown a marked reduction in mortality, due to the availability of early detection tests and improved treatments. Unfortunately, this is not the case with ovarian cancer, which is still the deadliest of all gynecologic cancers.
The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition has a page of ways to spread awareness of this disease. Did you know that teal is also an acronym?
“Take Early Action & Live” – the TEAL Initiative. If ovarian cancer is diagnosed and treated early, when the cancer is confined to the ovary, the five year survival rate is over 90%. That is why awareness of early symptoms and education about the disease are so important. It is this simple, yet undeniably powerful truth that inspired the “Take Early Action & Live” initiative. The TEAL Initiative leverages the power and effectiveness of pass-along email to spread awareness at a grass roots level from one women to her circle of friends and family. The initiative has two objectives: the first is helping women become aware of the four most consistent symptoms of ovarian cancer. The second is let women know if they experience any of those symptoms on a daily basis for more then a few weeks, they should talk to their physician, preferrably a gynecologist, right away.
To begin your own pass-along email message to the women you care about, click here and we’ll get you started. The message you send out today, may save a life tomorrow.
So, take some time to think about all those girly bits you don’t see. They have enormous power over your health and your mood. Make sure you remain aware of the symptoms, and pass the word along.