September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. With so many “awareness” months, this one can be easy to ignore. However, ovarian cancer has affected my life in a personal way and it is my passion and goal to inform people of the risk factors and symptoms.
Sept. 8 would have been my sister’s 45th birthday. She died at the age of 30 after a three-year battle with ovarian cancer. I believe strongly that had we been aware of the risk factors and symptoms, she might well have been diagnosed earlier and could still be with us today.
There is no early detection test for ovarian cancer, so many women are diagnosed when the disease is in an advanced stage. However, there are symptoms associated with this disease, as well as factors that can increase a woman’s risk.
Some symptoms include abdominal pain and bloating, feeling full quickly, and a change in bowel habits. Some risk factors include having a family history, aging, starting menstruation at an early age and being of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.
I hope every woman will take a few minutes to become educated about ovarian cancer this month. An excellent resource is ovariancancer.org.
Amy Mundello, Denair