Some facts about ovarian cancer.
What is it?
Cancer of the ovaries is the sixth most common cancer in women. About 25,000 new cases are diagnosed in the United States each year, and more than 14,000 women die of the disease each year. This makes it a more common cause of death than more prevalent, but more easily detected, cancers of the uterus and cervix.
It is difficult to detect ovarian cancer early – only about 25% of the cancers are found in the easily treatable stage, before they have spread beyond the ovaries. The symptoms of ovarian cancer are subtle and nonspecific. They include abdominal swelling and pain, indigestion, changes in urination and bowel habits, bloating and a feeling of pressure in the pelvis, weight changes, and unexplained vaginal bleeding. Since there are many non-cancerous conditions that can also cause these symptoms, it is important to have regular checkups and to consult with your physician if you are experiencing any symptoms.
Who is at increased risk?
Women who have no family members with ovarian cancer have a 1 in 70 risk of developing the disease during their lifetime. Women who have one first-degree relative with ovarian cancer have a risk of 1 out of 20 getting the disease too. Women with two first-degree relatives have a risk of 1 out of 14 getting ovarian cancer. A woman’s first-degree relatives include mother, sister and aunt either on her mothers or fathers side. A very small group of these women — 3 out of 100 of the women with two relatives — have something called autosomal dominant syndrome. This places them at very high risk for ovarian cancer. The three known hereditary syndromes that place a woman at exceedingly high risk are:
Ovarian cancer syndrome in which the family members have ovarian cancer at the same location on the ovary.
Breast-ovarian cancer syndrome, in which two or more family members have both of these kinds of cancer.
Breast-ovarian-endometrial-colorectal cancer syndrome, in which two or more family members have all of these kinds of cancer.
What are the general risk factors?
5 to 10 out of 100 women with ovarian cancer have 1 or more relatives with the disease.
A woman who has a history of infertility, has a higher risk of getting ovarian cancer.
A woman who did not have 1 or more children is at a higher risk.
A woman who menstruated, or started her period early, has a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.
A woman who has had breast, endometrial or colorectal cancer, has a higher risk of getting ovarian cancer.
A woman who entered menopause later than the average age, is at a higher risk. The average age for menopause is 52 years old.
A woman who is obese or very overweight, has a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Source - National Institute Of Health