Ovarian cancer awareness is an important focus for the Leading Lady family during the month of September. The American Cancer Society estimates that over 20,000 women in the US are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year, or 1 in every 71 women. Sadly, more than half of them die of the disease. This makes it the deadliest gynecological cancer and the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death among women.
Perhaps what is most shocking about ovarian cancer is that the mortality rate has not improved in forty years. While other types of cancer have seen significantly reduced death-rates, which is not the case with ovarian cancer, making ovarian cancer awareness so important.
As with most cancers, detecting ovarian cancer early helps improve the chances of survival. Although there is not a regular screening test, it is important for each of us to know the symptoms and risk factors, and be proactive when it comes to our own health. Symptoms of ovarian cancer include bloating, abdominal pain, difficulty eating and urinating frequently. Older women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer are more likely to suffer from ovarian cancer. Other risk factors include genetic mutations, increased menstrual cycles and those who receive hormone replacement therapy.
There are also factors that decrease a woman’s likelihood of ovarian cancer, including childbearing and breastfeeding. A study released earlier this year out of Australia found that women who breastfeed for at least 13 months were 63% less likely to get ovarian cancer. Many researchers believe that stopping ovulation – which pregnancy does and breastfeeding can do – decreases the chances of ovarian cancer. Pregnancy and breastfeeding also change a woman’s hormones, which are thought to help protect the body from ovarian cell mutations.
The ovarian cancer awareness cause has adopted the “got teal’d” campaign to help educate women on the symptoms and risk factors of this deadly disease. By displaying teal during the month of September, you help remind women to be vigilant of their health. Activism can take place anywhere at any level. Awareness is the first step to prevention and improving the staggering statistics surrounding ovarian cancer.
The Leading Lady team is asking – will you “got teal’d” with us this September?