Ovarian cancer is a disease where some of the cells in one or both ovaries start to grow abnormally and develop into cancer. Predominantly it affects women over 50 who have stopped menstruating. Women who have not had children, are unable to have children, have never used oral contraceptives or have had children over the age of 30, may be slightly more at risk.
This might come as a shock but here are some statistics recently released;
It can be difficult to diagnose ovarian cancer because the symptoms are ones that many women will have from time to time and are often symptoms of less serious / more common health problems. However we do know lifestyle factors such as smoking tobacco, being overweight or eating a high fat diet can contribute.
But we do know that ovarian cancer is NOT a silent disease. Women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer report four types of symptoms most frequently:
If you start to have any of these new symptoms and you have experienced them multiple times during a 4-week period, consult your GP. If it becomes more severe see your GP without delay.
Other symptoms to be aware of
It is important to remember that most women with these symptoms will not have ovarian cancer but never take it for granted. It is better to be safe than sorry.
As simple as it sounds, by knowing what your breasts look and feel like, and checking them regularly, you can help you detect when something’s wrong. It is imperative to know what your breasts feel like normally, pre and post menstrual cycle and ensuring if you are over 50 you attend regular breast screenings with your medical practitioner.
Here are some of the changes to look for;
Detecting cancer early can mean that treatment is more effective. Not all changes are a sign of breast cancer. Some WOMEN have cysts or thickening of the breast tissue, which is normal.
If you notice any of these changes, see your DOCTOR or specialist as soon as possible.
Menopause is a time most women fear but to allay these fears for “the change” every woman needs to be armed with all the relevant information.
When a woman hasn’t had a period for 12 months, she is considered to have been through menopause. There is a common misconception that you can’t get pregnant during menopause but it is still possible. It is important to keep using contraception up to one year after your last period if you are over 50, or two years if you are under 50.
The most common symptom of Menopause is hot flushes but others include;
Decrease in female hormones after menopause may lead to:
As with all medical conditions it is advisable to consult your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Bone loss and osteoporosis are natural features of ageing, but declining oestrogen accelerates the process in post-menopausal women.
At Community Pharmacy we offer cholesterol checks and bone density tests and we would be delighted to assist you with any queries or advice you may have.
Information sourced from health direct Australia and Ovarian Cancer Australia