Wednesday, September 2, 2009

September Is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. While ovarian cancer only plays a small part in Shades of Darkness, Shades of Grace, its affect on the Pierson family is profound.

Ovarian cancer is very treatable if detected early; however because there is no reliable test, the vast majority of cases are not detected until the cancer has spread beyond the ovaries. For this reason it’s crucial that women must become familiar with the symptoms of ovarian cancer and recognize and understand those symptoms in their own bodies.

Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance and the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition provide detailed information on symptoms, detection, treatment options, etc. Symptoms are subtle but persistent, frequently increasing over time. They include:
Pelvic or abdominal pain
Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
A feeling of frequency or urgency to urinate

Other symptoms commonly reported include: fatigue, indigestion, back pain, intercourse pain, constipation, and menstrual irregularities. However, these symptoms are not as useful in identifying ovarian cancer because they are often found in women in the general population who do not have ovarian cancer.

Women should consult their physician if these symptoms persist for more than a few weeks. When ovarian cancer is diagnosed early, the 5-year survival rate is 93% so it’s important that every woman be aware of ovarian cancer and the symptoms.

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