Women have been pushed to stay on top of breast cancer screenings with exams, self-awareness of breast changes, and mammograms which makes us being educated on our personal of \ of breast cancers, however it’s now determined that there is less knowledge of your risk of ovarian cancer and why there is this disparity between Breast and Ovarian Cancer Awareness is one reason you and your health care provider have to understand your risks.
Here are some quick facts you need to know:
Ovarian cancer is the most deadly of the gynecologic cancers. The mortality rate of ovarian cancer has inexplicably risen since 1999. If these trends continue ovarian cancer will kill more American women each year than breast cancer does by 2015. Already 70% of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer will die of their disease, in contrast to the 83% overall survival rate of breast cancer victims.
There are prevention strategies, and ovarian removal is 98% proactive. However, this cancer is so deadly in spite of the already significantly aggressive measures we take to prevent the disease such as ovulation suppression through contraception such as the birth control pills, and ovarian removal. The fact is that 300,000 ovaries are already being removed electively at surgery each year just at the time of hysterectomy. It is not enough.
Early diagnosis is the most protective. Like other cancers, if we could diagnose ovarian cancer early enough, survival would skyrocket to 92%. .Only 17% of women are diagnosed when ovarian cancer is regional. Currently 62% of all women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed when the cancer is distant and the 5 year survival in this group is about 27%. Insurance coverage for life saving strategies has been excellent. However, a new study presented at the Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SOG) 44th Annual Meeting on Women's Cancer (Abstract 46. Presented March 11, 2013) has determined that only 37% of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer were treated with the guidelines that the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has established. Raising awareness that early and accurate diagnosis would allow more women the opportunity to choose their treatment course that will erode the rising ovarian cancer mortality rates. This will involve educating patients, educating providers, achieving better screening strategies, and rising the level of insurance coverage for the testing that will allow women to seek care in advanced settings.
Women can be more alert to the signs of ovarian cancer, but most women are sorely uneducated about the symptoms that may mean ovarian cancer. Women attribute their symptoms of ovarian cancer to menstrual discomfort, menopause, indigestion, rapid food consumption, or bladder infections and neglect to have testing that could establish an early ovarian cancer. Women mistakenly think that pap smears can currently detect ovarian cancer, and dismiss BRCA gene testing if they have only ovarian cancer family history and not specifically breast cancer in their family.
Women at risk can benefit from screening tests like a pelvic exam, a pelvic ultrasound, or a blood test with CA125. Unlike mammograms that have shown the ability to save lives in every study, most studies attempting to show the success of screening from ovarian cancer shows increased rates of harm from undergoing ovarian cancer screening. Unfortunately, one in three physicians believe that ovarian cancer screening will help their low risk patients, and these strategies are not for low risk patients. Screening those with ovarian cancer in their family history is a recommended strategy, you have a three time greater risk of ovarian cancer if you have even one first or second degree relative with the disorder. If you come from a family with hereditary ovarian cancer syndromes, you have a lifetime risk of getting ovarian cancer of about 50%. The gene mutations of BRCA1, which Angilina Jolie had, and the BRCA2 gene only occur in about 1/300 women, but is significantly raises your risk of ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer can come from the fallopian tubes. They need to realize that ovarian cancer may not just arise in the ovary, but that the fallopian tube and the lining of the abdomen called the peritoneum may actually be the foci of early disease.
Ovarian cancer risk factors include increasing age, infertility, endometriosis, and postmenopausal hormone therapy increase the risks of both breast and ovarian cancer; where pregnancy and breastfeeding, using contraceptives that suppress ovulation, removing your ovaries will decrease the risk of each of these diseases. Women ages 50 per 100,000 women which is approximately twice the rate found in younger women . We think defects or mutations in our genes increase the risk of ovarian (and other) cancers as we age.