Thursday, September 4, 2008

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month!

Did you know that September is ovarian cancer awareness month? During National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, we would like to honor the victims and survivors of this disease for their courage, hope, and perseverance. Please spread the word by posting our Project Ties that Bind Badge (located to the left hand side) on your website and/or blog.

Please feel free to share your stories with us you can either post here or email me and I'll post them here with your permission
Myths and Facts About Ovarian Cancer
Myth: The Pap test can diagnose ovarian cancer.

Fact: A Pap test only diagnoses cancer of the cervix (the opening of the uterus).

Myth: Ovarian cancer has no symptoms.

Fact: Symptoms may include persistent and progressive abdominal pain, bloating, or discomfort; nausea, indigestion, or gas; urinary frequency; constipation, or diarrhea; abnormal vaginal bleeding; unusual fatigue; unexplained weight loss or gain; and shortness of breath. There may also be pain with intercourse. Most symptoms are not gynecologic.

Myth: There are no risk factors for ovarian cancer.

Fact: Risk factors for this disease include increasing age; family history of ovarian, breast, or colorectal cancer; personal history of breast cancer; never bearing a child or having a child later in life; and using talc in the genital area for several years. Use of high-dose estrogen without progesterone for long periods of time (10 years) is a risk factor. However, today combination therapy (estrogen and progesterone) is more common.

Myth: A high CA-125 blood level always indicates ovarian cancer.

Fact: It is not uncommon for pre-menopausal women to have a high CA-125 level because of non-cancerous conditions such as uterine fibroids, inflammation of the fallopian tubes, or endometriosis. The CA-125 blood test is more accurate in post-menopausal women. Currently, no screening test is 100% accurate in detecting ovarian cancer.

Myth: If ovarian cancer does not run in my family, I cannot get it.

Fact: All women are at risk for ovarian cancer. Only 10% of cases are hereditary (inherited).

Myth: Ovarian cancer has no cure.
Fact: If ovarian cancer is detected early and treated properly, there is a 90% chance of survival for at least five years. However, only about one quarter of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed early. Late diagnosis is associated with significantly lower survival rates—about 25%.

Myth: Fertility drugs cause ovarian cancer.

Fact: This is an area of controversy. Several studies conducted in the early 1990s showed that certain fertility drugs are associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer. More recent studies have shown that ovarian cancer risk was not increased by the use of fertility drugs but rather by infertility itself.

Myth: Women who have their ovaries removed cannot get ovarian cancer.

Fact: Women who have their ovaries removed can't get ovarian cancer unless a bit of undetected cancer spread before the removal. This is a rare event. In addition, a rare type of cancer called primary peritoneal carcinoma, a close relative of ovarian cancer, can develop when there are no ovaries. Primary peritoneal carcinoma starts in the inside lining of the abdomen and pelvis. It looks similar to ovarian cancer under the microscope. It also has the same symptoms, spreads in a similar pattern, and is treated the same way as ovarian cancer.

Myth: Ovarian cancer can be prevented.

Fact: Currently, there is no way to prevent ovarian cancer with 100% certainty. However, several things can help reduce the risk:
Prophylactic oophorectomy—having both ovaries removed along with the fallopian tubes as a preventive measure—can reduce risk by more than 80%. Taking oral contraceptives for at least five years can reduce risk by 50% (but the safety of birth control pills in women with a personal history of breast cancer is unclear). Pregnancy and breast-feeding, tubal ligation (tying the fallopian tubes), and hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) can all reduce risk.

Myth: Having ovarian cysts increases your risk of ovarian cancer.
Fact: Most cysts develop from the changes in hormone levels during the menstrual cycle and the production and release of eggs from the ovaries. Most cysts are harmless and go away on their own. However, some can be cancerous.

Fact: Most cysts develop from the changes in hormone levels during the menstrual cycle and the production and release of eggs from the ovaries. Most cysts are harmless and go away on their own. However, some can be cancerous.

Cited from the following website:

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