By Clodagh Meaney
Today is World Ovarian Cancer Awareness Day.
Ovarian Cancer is the 6th most common female-specific cancer in Ireland. Over 400 women are diagnosed here each year, with 272 losing their lives to the silent killer. Ovarian cancer has the highest mortality rate among the cancers, and can quickly spread to other parts of the reproductive system such as womb, abdomen and vagina. This means that awareness of the disease is crucial to help early detection and diagnosis.
Whilst the cause, and cure, are unknown, there are certain factors that can put you at risk. These include women with a history of cancer in their family, women who smoke, and women who haven't had children. Whilst cancer can occur in anyone at anytime, it is best to know the signs and symptoms so that you can get early intervention.
Symptoms include bloating, eating complications, pain in the pelvis or abdomen, and urinary issues. Other symptoms include extreme fatigue, change in bowel movements, abnormal eating and unexplained weight loss.
Researchers have said that you can BEAT Ovarian Cancer by knowing your body, and speaking to your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms for three or more weeks:
Bloating that is persistent and doesn’t come and go
Eating less and feeling full more quickly
Abdominal and pelvic pain you feel most days
Toilet changes in urination or bowel habits
Preventative methods include taking the contraceptive pill, being pregnant, breastfeeding and removing the ovaries through a hysterectomy.
If you think you're at risk, contact your doctor for an assessment.
You can find out more about World Ovarian Cancer Awareness Day here.