Every day in Australia, four women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and three will die from the disease. Ovarian cancer has the lowest survival rate of any women’s cancer – a fact that hasn’t changed in 30 years. It’s time for change. It’s time to ovary-act this February for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month is all about helping people get tested earlier to prevent this, as well as providing support to patients and families.
What are ovaries?
The ovaries are two small almond shaped organs that are part of the female reproductive system. Each ovary measures about 2-4 cm across and they sit on either side of the uterus. Other parts of the female reproductive system include the fallopian tubes, cervix and vagina.
What is Ovarian Cancer?
Ovarian cancer is a disease where some of the cells in one or both ovaries start to grow abnormally and develop into cancer.
Ovarian cancer is a general term used to describe a cancerous (malignant) tumour starting in one or both ovaries. The ovaries are made up of three main kinds of cells – epithelial cells, stromal cells and germ cells. Each of these cells can develop into a different type of tumour. The average age of women when they are diagnosed with ovarian cancer is age 64. It is mainly diagnosed in women over the age of 50; however, there are cases diagnosed in younger women.
Do you have the symptoms?
- Unexplained fatigue
- Unexplained weight gain or loss
- Changes in the bowel habits, such as constipation
- Increased abdominal size or persistent abdominal bloating
- Feeling full after eating a small amount
- Needing to urinate often or urgently
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, come and get tested by your doctor at Family Doctors Plus – what’s the harm in checking?
How is ovarian cancer diagnosed?
If your doctor suspects ovarian cancer, there are several tests they can perform to help decide whether your symptoms are due to ovarian cancer or other causes. They will examine you, ask about your symptoms and possibly order a CA125 blood test and an ultrasound. If you prefer, you can ask for a female doctor to do this. It is your choice: do not be afraid to ask.
Tips from Family Doctors Plus: It can help to ask your doctors and nurses exactly how long it will take to get each result back. Having this information can help control your anxiety and stop waking each day hoping ‘today will be the day’. During the waiting time you may find it helps to speak with your cancer nurse at the hospital and close friends and family. You can also call the Ovarian Cancer Australia support team on 1300 660 334 during business hours.
- Buy and wear a teal ribbon (especially on Wednesday 26th of February 2020)
- Paint the town teal with a fundraising event to support women living with ovarian cancer
- Make a donation to Ovarian Cancer Australia
- Talk about ovarian cancer to raise awareness and let Australians affected by the disease know they’re not alone. You could even take action on your social media platforms.
If you have any concerns or you’d like to find out more information come and visit your preferred doctor here at Family Doctors Plus in Windsor, Brisbane. Book an appointment online, or call our friendly receptionist on (07) 3357 8192.