February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

Each year in Australia around 1,815 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. In most cases the cancer will be diagnosed at an advanced stage, where it is very difficult to treat.

Only 31% of Australians know that ovarian cancer has the poorest survival rate of any female cancer in Australia. This devastating disease suffers from a lack of awareness and progress. Ovarian Cancer Australia is an organisation dedicated to education by continuing to spread evidence based information every Australian should know about this disease. They also strongly advocate for more research funding, better laws and policies, greater access to affordable treatment options and ultimately better outcomes for all those affected.

In the month of February we will be supporting Ovarian Cancer Australia to achieve their goals in saving lives by selling Teal Ribbons within the clinic. We invite you to help us by purchasing one on your next visit.

What is Ovarian 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
  • 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 50, however there are cases diagnosed in younger women. Ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cancer in Australia.

What are the Symptoms?

Symptoms of ovarian cancer can be vague and difficult to diagnose. It is very important to see your GP if you have any of the symptoms listed below that are ongoing. While many of these symptoms can be caused by other less serious medical conditions, it is always best to get checked. The earlier a cancer is found, the more success there will be in treating it. The most commonly reported symptoms of ovarian cancer are:

  • Increased abdominal size or persistent abdominal bloating
  • Abdominal or pelvic (lower tummy) pain
  • Feeling full after eating a small among
  • Needing to urinate often or urgently

Additional symptoms may include:

  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Lower back pain
  • Indigestion or nausea
  • Bleeding after menopause or in between periods
  • Pain during sex or bleeding after

Remember to always seek medical advice on any new or persisting symptoms. You know your body better than anyone else, so always listen to your body and trust your instincts.

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