An estimated one in 70 women will develop ovarian cancer in her lifetime and more than 15,000 American women are expected to lose their lives this year as a result. To raise awareness about the risks and signs of ovarian cancer, The Ovarian Cancer Coalition has named September Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
Throughout the month, women are encouraged to learn the signs of ovarian cancer and take action should they experience them. Dr. David Stoneking is an OB/GYN at the White-Wilson Center for Women’s Health and warns of the risk to women in our community.
“Ovarian cancer is the 5th leading cause of cancer deaths in women and affects many in our community,” says Dr. Stoneking. “Its signs often go overlooked, so it is vital that women of all ages know what to look for and take action should they experience warning signs.”
Signs of ovarian cancer include:
- Discomfort in the pelvis
- Abormal bleeding
- Pain in the abdomen
- Pain during intercourse
- Unexplained indigestion, gas or bloating
“Staying attuned to changes in your body, talking with you doctor about your concerns and receiving annual exams are key in protecting yourself,” advises Dr. Stoneking. “If you are suspicious of any unexplained gastrointestinal symptoms, it is important to discuss those symptoms with your physician right away. Early detection drastically increases your chances of winning the fight against this aggressive form of cancer.”
While ovarian cancer can happen at any age, it is most common in women ages 50 – 75 and may be detected through pelvic exams or ultrasound. Once detected, treatment plans may include surgical staging, removal of the ovaries, fallopian tubes or uterus and chemotherapy.
Information about the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition and Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month can be found at www.ovarian.org. For more information about Dr. David Stoneking and the White-Wilson Center for Women’s Health or to schedule an appointment, call 850-863-8264. Information on all White-Wilson health care providers is available at www.white-wilson.com