Lana Kelly, Editor
Here are the facts: There are 17,000 women living with ovarian cancer in Canada. It is estimated that this year in Canada, 2,600 women will be newly diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is the 5th most common cancer for women and is the most fatal women’s cancer.
So, what can we do about it? How can we help to fight it? The answer is simple. AWARENESS.
Cancer is a term used for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade other tissue in the body.
(source National Cancer Institute)
The ovaries are made up of three main kinds of cells:
Epithelial cells – cover the ovary
What are your risk factors for developing ovarian cancer?
Family history of ovarian cancer
a specific inherited genetic abnormality (can be inherited from either parent)
an uncommon genetic condition called Lynch Syndrome
Never being pregnant
Family history of certain cancers (like breast, pancreatic and uterine cancers)
Personal history of breast cancer
Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry
Hormone replacement therapy
These factors can be relative to contracting the disease, but there is not enough evidence to support these claims: 1) Being obese, 2)Using talc on the genitals, 3)Endometriosis, 4)Tall adult height, 5)Sitting for long periods daily, 6)Using fertility drugs
What are the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer?
Since ovarian cancer is extremely hard to detect, you should always tell your doctor about unusual symptoms you are having with regards to your female reproductive health. Research indicates that the symptoms of ovarian cancer may not occur until late stages of the cancer, and, since there is no screening for ovarian cancer, if a woman is aware of symptoms and communicates these to her health care provider, it may help her to get diagnosed and treated earlier.
How is ovarian cancer diagnosed?
Well, the only definitive way to determine if someone has ovarian cancer is to examine tissue that has been removed through surgery or a biopsy.
In all phases of your diagnosis and treatment discuss the results with your doctor. Ask questions, write down the responses and ask your doctor to clarify anything you don’t understand. If you have concerns, asking for a second opinion is an option.
How can ovarian cancer be treated?
Typically, your doctor should refer you to a gynocologist for surgery and biopsies to confirm the diagnosis of ovarian cancer.
Lana Kelly( B.A, SSW, ECE, Montessori). For 20 years, Lana has been dedicated to helping children and families. In 2010, she published a book (The Sheepish Lamb) , aimed at building resilience to childhood anxiety. She is a mom to four daughters, and values her faith and family solidarity.
For more information on ovarian cancer awareness, risks, signs, symptoms and treatment visit: