Ovarian cancer is the deadliest women’s cancer.  Each day, four Australian women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and each day, it claims the lives of three women.

This February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and Ovarian Cancer Australia (OCA) says it’s time to ovary-act.

There is an urgent need to improve survival rates and increase ovarian cancer awareness and education Australia-wide.

A recent study by OCA found that nearly 1-in-3 women don’t know the difference between ovarian cancer and cervical cancer, with more than 70 per cent incorrectly believing the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine also protects against ovarian cancer, and 50 per cent incorrectly believing a cervical screening (pap smear) can detect ovarian cancer.

While up to 90 per cent of women diagnosed with breast cancer survive five years post diagnosis, only 45 per cent of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer will be alive five years after being diagnosed. However, this survival rate further reduces for the 75 per cent of women diagnosed in advanced stages.

Although there is no early detection test for ovarian cancer, knowing the risks, signs and symptoms may help to start a conversation, or even save a life.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Changes in bowels habits, such a constipation
  • Increased abdominal size or persistent abdominal bloating
  • Abdominal or pelvic (lower tummy) pain
  • Feeling full after eating a small amount
  • Urinary changes, such as frequency or urgency

Risk factors for ovarian cancer:

  • Family history or ovarian, breast or bowel cancer
  • Increasing age
  • Medical conditions such as endometriosis
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Obesity
  • Tobacco smoking
  • Mutation in 1 of several known genes (e.g. BRCA1 or BRCA2)

It’s better to ovary-act than to not! Visit here to learn more or to see how you or your company can get involved for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.