Ovarian Cancer Awareness
As some of you may know, September was Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. Just one month later, a student at my high school lost her yearlong battle to ovarian cancer at the young age of nineteen. She was an avid volleyball player and the captain of her high school team. She is remembered by many for having a sweet personality – the type of girl who could brighten your darkest day. I personally never knew her, but I did know many who had been touched by her. Just hearing her story and watching as thousands of people came to support a volleyball game in her honor showed me how important she was to so many people.
Ovarian cancer is very, very, rare in women under the age of 40, but it’s important to know something about it and how to lower your risk. I learned that there are five things you can do to lower your risk of getting most kinds of cancer. They include: 1. Not smoking, 2. Limiting alcohol, 3. Exercising for 30 – 60 minutes 5 or more days a week, 4. Eating a healthy diet, and 5. Seeing your health care provider for regular check-ups.
- Ovarian Cancer is NOT prevented by the HPV vaccine. The HPV vaccine helps prevent cancer of the cervix.
- A Pap test is used to detect cervical cancer, not ovarian cancer.
- Ovarian cancer can run in families.
- Early symptoms may include; bloating in the belly area, trouble eating, and/or feeling full quickly, frequent urination, lower back pain, and fatigue.
- Ovarian cancer is diagnosed with blood tests and an ultrasound.
- Birth control pills decrease your risk of developing ovarian cancer; the longer you take them the more protection against ovarian cancer.
- It is important to check in with your health care provider annually and when you are not feeling well.
- Learn about your family history. Just because your aunt had ovarian cancer, doesn’t mean you will get it, it just means that you and your doctor should be aware that this type of cancer runs in your family.
- The #1 way to prevent cancer is never starting to smoke!