Your ovarian cancer guide: Stay informed, stay healthy and survive

As a woman, you need to know about some of the serious issues that could potentially affect you. Ovarian...

As a woman, you need to know about some of the serious issues that could potentially affect you. Ovarian cancer is not only one of the more serious forms of cancer, but according to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, it could happen to 22,240 women this year. So, how do you know if you'll be affected, and what do you do if you find out that you have this type of cancer? Start by understanding the symptoms, treatments and outcomes.

The symptoms

Ovarian cancer is often considered a silent killer because you may not always have any obvious symptoms. The main way in which women know whether they have it or not is by having regular gynecological checkups. Your Atlanta-based OB/GYN can detect signs of this cancer through routine tests. Sometimes obvious symptoms do appear, but often in the later stages. These symptoms include

  • abdominal bloating that is not related to gas
  • a lack or loss of appetite
  • chronic pain in your abdomen
  • problems with urination

The treatments

Cancer treatments vary depending on the type of cancer you have, and the severity of the cancer. For ovarian cancer, standard treatment can involve surgical removal of the cancerous areas, which might include a hysterectomy, followed by rounds of targeted chemotherapy and radiation. Because these treatments are intensive, you might experience side effects like nausea, fatigue, vomiting, bowel movement problems, a lowered sex drive, nerve damage and sores in the mouth as a result of chemotherapy, and hair loss as a result of radiation.

The outcomes

Ovarian cancer survival rate depends on how extensive the cancer is. If the cancer is localized, meaning that it is only on the ovaries, the five-year survival rate is 91.5 percent. If the cancer is regional, meaning that it has only spread to the organs and lymph nodes right next to the ovaries, the five-year survival rate is 71.9 percent. If the cancer is distant, meaning that it has spread throughout the body, the survival rate is 26.9 percent.

The most important thing you can do to nip it in the bud is to detect and treat it early, so make an appointment with your Atlanta OB/GYN today.

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