“Cancer” is one word that no one wants to hear, but it is unfortunately widespread and affects millions of people each year. Particularly for women, one form of cancer that commonly occurs is ovarian cancer. In the United States, roughly 22,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer per year, and about 14,000 of those women will die from ovarian cancer. This particular form of cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women and primarily develops in older women, although younger women have been affected as well.
Treatment of Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer is typically not recognized until it has started to spread within the pelvis and abdomen, which unfortunately means that it is more difficult to treat at this late stage. Before the cancer has spread and when it is still primarily in the ovaries, it is much easier to be treated successfully. Generally, surgery and chemotherapy are used to treat ovarian cancer. Almost every woman diagnosed with ovarian cancer will have some type of surgery to remove the disease from the body, and treatment is much more effective when the cancer is detected early on. Chemotherapy is typically used even if a woman has surgery because it decreases the chance of the cancer returning (also known as “recurrence”). Survivors of ovarian cancer find their fear of recurrence, relationships, sexual health, the financial impact of treatment, and coping strategies to be extremely challenging after battling with the disease.
Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
Some symptoms of ovarian cancer include abdominal bloating or swelling, feeling full quickly, weight loss, discomfort in the pelvic area, changes in bowel habits, and a frequent need to urinate. Having a family history of ovarian or breast cancer may put you at higher risk for developing either of these forms of cancers as well, so it is important to consult your doctor if you have a family history of cancer or if you have signs or symptoms that are concerning to you. It is extremely important to have routine lab work done so that in the event you may be directly affected, it can be detected early on and be treated successfully.
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About the Author
Chelsea Woods has a Master’s degree in special education and is an Educational Diagnostician. Her passion is children, particularly children with special needs. Chelsea has been married to her husband Dylan for 6 years, and they have two girls, Kamdyn, five, and Emersyn, one. She enjoys time with her church family, working in their garden, and taking vacations and making memories as a family.