March is Ovarian Cancer Awareness and Home Instead would like to share some facts on the illness, Home Instead is no stranger to the illness as they provide Home Care in Kings Lynn, Spalding, Downham Market and the surrounding areas.
Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer in women in the UK.
It usually affects women who have reached their menopause – about 85% of women diagnosed are over the age of 50, though it can occur in younger women.
Most women with ovarian cancer are treated with a combination of surgery and chemotherapy.
Each year, about 6,800 women in the UK are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The causes are not yet completely understood but some factors are believed to increase the risk.
As with many cancers, the main risk factor for ovarian cancer is age. The risk of developing ovarian cancer is very low in young women and increases as women get older. More than 8 out of 10 (85%) ovarian cancers occur in women over the age of 50. Most ovarian cancers occur in women who have had their menopause.
Other factors that may increase or decrease the risk
Some other factors are known to increase a woman’s chance of developing ovarian cancer. These include a strong family history of ovarian or breast cancer, obesity, use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and infertility.
There are some protective factors| that may reduce a woman's risk of ovarian cancer such as having children, using the contraceptive pill, and breastfeeding.
Symptoms of ovarian cancer
Many women don’t have any symptoms or only vague symptoms in the early stages of ovarian cancer. Many of these symptoms can occur in other conditions as well and are not necessarily a sign of cancer. If you do have symptoms, they may include:
stomach pain or pain in your pelvis
a persistent bloated feeling
feeling full quickly and losing your appetite
Other possible symptoms include:
unexplained weight loss
swelling of your abdomen
changes in bowel or bladder habits – constipation, excess wind, diarrhoea or needing to pass urine more often
rarely, abnormal vaginal bleeding
These symptoms aren't always caused by ovarian cancer but if you have them, or you’re in any doubt, see your GP. The earlier you are diagnosed, the better your chance of survival.
For more information visit: www.ovarian.org.uk