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September 20, 2023/Daily Health Stories

Importance of Early Detection for Ovarian Cancer

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. A physician discusses the signs and symptoms to look out for, and why early detection is so important.

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CLEVELAND – September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

According to the CDC, ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.

It’s also a difficult cancer to diagnosis.

“The problem with ovarian cancer is it tends to be a cancer that creates symptoms, but it’s the symptoms that we all have. ‘Oh, I’m full after I eat, or I’m a little nauseous, or my bowels have changed,’ so people commonly think they have a UTI or they have a gallbladder attack, and it’s not until people are really sick from the cancer that they’re going to end up in the ER,” explained Robert DeBernardo, MD, Section Head Gynecologic Oncology for Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. DeBernardo said since ovarian cancer can be hard to diagnose, women really need to pay attention to their bodies and report any symptoms that have been persistent for more than three weeks.

So, what causes ovarian cancer?

He said they don’t know for sure, but there are some factors that can put a woman more at risk like being older in age and genetics.

And because of that, he encourages women who know of ovarian cancer in their family to get genetic testing done.

“This is one cancer that has a bigger genetic component than most cancers,” he said. “So, one in ten women with ovarian cancer, it’s because of something that they inherited from their family.”

As far as treatment goes, there are different options available including chemotherapy and surgery.

However, it all depends on the severity of cancer.

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