Teal Ribbon Day is a day in which we bring awareness to ovarian cancer, to support Australians living with, honour those we have lost to this deadly disease and make a change.
It is the 8th most common cancer affecting women in Australia. Every day, four women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and we unfortunately lose 3 out of 4 suffering with this disease with a 5 year survival rate at only 45%. Ovarian cancer is also known to have the lowest survival rate of any women’s cancer.
There is currently no screening for ovarian cancer available in Australia. What this means is we don’t routinely look for it like we do with Cervical cancer by doing a Pap smear. Pap smears DO NOT identify ovarian cancer.
There are often no obvious signs of ovarian cancer. However some first symptoms you may have (one or more of the following symptoms) include:
• abdominal discomfort, especially bloating which persists and a pressure in the pelvic or lower abdomen
• abdominal pain which is usually mild but worse with sexual intercourse
• difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
• frequent or urgent urination
• back, abdominal or pelvic pain
• change in bowel habits – constipation or diarrhoea
• menstrual irregularities
• nausea and anorexia
• unexplained weight loss or weight gain
These symptoms can be caused by other conditions but if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, see your local doctor.
Some factors that can increase your risk of ovarian cancer include:
• ageing (risk increases for women over 50)
• family history of ovarian, breast or bowel cancer (especially if first degree relatives and if several of them)
• changes in the genes BRCA1 or BRCA2.
• being of Ashkenazi Jewish descent
• early onset of periods (before 12 years) and late menopause
• women who have not had children or had their first child after the age of 35
• never taking oral contraceptives
• using oestrogen only hormone replacement therapy or fertility treatment.
The prognosis of Ovarian cancer depends on the type and stage of cancer as well as their age and general health at the time of diagnosis. Having said this, it is not possible for any doctor to predict the exact course of your disease. Survival will of course vary between individuals due to above reasons and will depend on their response to treatment.
Dr May Myint
Mon, Tue & Fri
Phone 02 9634 5000
Fax 02 8061 4308