Ovarian Cancer

What are the chances?

Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, accounting for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. About 22,440 women will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer. About half of the women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer are 63 years or older. It is more common in white women than African-American women. A woman's risk of getting ovarian cancer during her lifetime is about 1 in 75.

Common symptoms:

  • Increased stomach size with or without bloating, indigestion or nausea
  • Changes in appetite, such as a loss of appetite or feeling full sooner
  • Changes in menstruation
  • Lower back or pelvic pressure
  • Urinary frequency
  • Changes in bowel movements including constipation
  • Tiredness or low energy

Genetics:

  • BRCA gene mutations
  • Family history of ovarian, breast or colorectal cancer

Risk factors:

  • Age: Ovarian cancer is rare in women younger than 40. Most ovarian cancers develop after menopause. Half of all ovarian cancers are found in women 63 years of age or older.
  • Obesity: Studies indicate that obese women (those with a body mass index of at least 30) have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  • Hormone therapies: some studies have shown an increased risk with estrogen replacement therapy after menopause

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