What you need to know about ovarian cancer
By naturopath Margaret Jasinska
Ovarian cancer is not as common as breast cancer, however it can be more deadly. Ovarian cancer is sometimes described as a silent killer. This is because a woman may be unaware she has cancer until it has reached an advanced stage and is much more difficult to treat.
According to the Cancer Council, in 2019, it is estimated that 1,510 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in Australia.
Symptoms of ovarian cancer are non-specific and tend to mimic a digestive disorder. The earlier ovarian cancer is diagnosed, the greater your chance of survival.
The most important thing you can do is be aware of the symptoms, and see your doctor if you experience any persistent symptoms on this list:
- Abdominal bloating or a feeling of fullness after not having eaten much
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain and/or back pain
- Urinary urgency or frequency
- Unexplained weight gain
As you can see, these symptoms are common to very many conditions, and a lot of people would ignore them. If any of these symptoms are new and persistent, it is vitally important you see your doctor, particularly if you are older than 50 years. As a starting point your doctor should refer you to have a pelvic ultrasound and a blood test for CA 125 and inhibin.
Both breast cancer and ovarian cancer are hormonally driven. That means the risk factors for both are almost identical. The information in this article about breast cancer will also help to reduce your risk of ovarian cancer. There is far more information in our book The Breast Cancer Prevention Guide.