September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness and support for women who are affected by this disease. Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer among women in the UK, and it can be difficult to detect in its early stages. That’s why it’s important to know the signs and symptoms, and to talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.
Some of the common symptoms of ovarian cancer include:
- Persistent bloating or swelling in the abdomen
- Feeling full quickly or loss of appetite
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Changes in bowel or bladder habits
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge
These symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, so don’t panic if you have them. But if they are new, persistent or frequent, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosis can make a big difference in the treatment and outcome of ovarian cancer.
There are also some factors that can increase or decrease your risk of developing ovarian cancer, such as:
- Age: Ovarian cancer is more common in women over 50, and especially after menopause.
- Family history: Having a close relative who had ovarian or breast cancer can increase your risk, especially if they had a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation.
- Hormonal factors: Taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for a long time may slightly increase your risk, while using oral contraceptives, having children, breastfeeding and having a hysterectomy may lower your risk.
- Lifestyle factors: Being overweight, smoking and drinking alcohol may also affect your risk of ovarian cancer.
You can learn more about ovarian cancer and how to reduce your risk on the NHS website or the Ovarian Cancer Action website. You can also join the online community of women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and share your experiences and questions.
Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month is also a great opportunity to show your support for the cause and help raise funds for research and advocacy. You can wear a teal ribbon, the symbol of ovarian cancer awareness, or join one of the many events and activities organised by charities and organisations across the country. You can also donate to organisations that are working to improve the lives of women with ovarian cancer and find a cure for this disease.
Together, we can make a difference and fight ovarian cancer. Thank you for reading this blog post and spreading the word.