With time and age comes wisdom, confidence, experience, and often times health issues. Men and women above forty are more at risk for many diseases and conditions including diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. One of these cancers threatening women over forty is ovarian cancer, which ranks fifth in cancer deaths of women. September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, so it’s time to get informed and talk about the dangers of ovarian cancer.
14,000 women die yearly from ovarian cancer, and there is a pretty significant reason that this number is so high. Only 15% of ovarian cancers are diagnosed at stage 1. In a sample size of 100 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, 85 women would be diagnosed with an advanced stage of the cancer. So what can we do to lower our chances of becoming one of these statistics?
- Know your risk. If you have a family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer, your chances of developing ovarian cancer are higher. Make sure your gynecologist is aware of this fact when treating you for other gynecological issues.
- Get tested. Like breast cancer, the genetic mutations BRCA1 and BRCA2, often indicate a greater risk of developing ovarian cancer. If breast cancer or ovarian cancer runs in your family, ask your gynecologist to test for these genetic mutations. A Pap smear is not meant to detect ovarian cancer, and in the few cases that it has, the cancer was already in advanced stages.
- Keep your vagina healthy. Douches, cleansing wipes, and other consumer products are advertised to “clean” a woman’s vagina, but often they contain harmful ingredients that shouldn’t be in your body. Some of these ingredients include dyes, fragrances, and even glitter found in women’s bathing products like bath bombs. Talcum powder is another substance that has been linked to ovarian cancer in many studies. The exact correlation between the two is not yet clear, but while there is still doubt and a possible connection, it is wise to keep talcum powder and any artificial or chemical substances away from your genital areas.Washing with plain water, every time you visit the loo does the job well.
- Be proactive as you age. Again, you are at a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer after 40, as you reach post-menopause towards your late 50s, and if you are obese. While you can’t stop aging, you can be proactive in keeping a healthy lifestyle that reduces your risk. Stay active and eat a healthy diet that includes vitamins A, D & E along with omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in many types of fish and other seafood or taken as a supplement. By keeping your BMI under 30 with a healthy, active lifestyle, a woman can greatly reduce her risk of both ovarian cancer and heart disease.
Education is key in fighting this gynecological cancer, so let’s support all women this September by spreading awareness. Tell your mother, your daughter, your sister or your friend about the dangers of ovarian cancer. Share these preventative measures that every woman should take and lower your own chances today. It’s time to change these statistics once and for all!”
Disclosure: All health decisions should be taken after personal doctors consultation.This is meant for general awareness only and all treatment decisions need personalized recommendations from a registered medical practitioner after professional consultation.