It is said by the experts that ovarian cancer — a form of cancer that begins in the ovaries — will strike around 1 in every 60 women in the US. Additionally, it is the 8th most common cancer and the 5th cause of cancer death among American women. The disease similarly affects women in developed and developing countries, unlike other cancer types.
Most cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed in older women, in particular those who are over 60 years of age. However, it’s not unlikely for younger women to develop the disease as well.
It is very important for a woman like you to be aware of ovarian cancer’s common signs and symptoms for the detection of the disease in its early stages, during which it is highly treatable. Unfortunately, many women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed during the disease’s advanced stages. This is because many think that the signs and symptoms they encounter are just brought about by their monthly period or due to menopause.
Some of the things that may indicate ovarian cancer include increased size of the abdomen, feeling full easily when eating, pain in the abdomen or pelvis, frequent urge to urinate, and vaginal bleeding or any abnormal discharge.
Risk factors — things that increase your chances of suffering from a disease — include age, family history, personal history of breast or colorectal cancer, and menstruating earlier than 12 and/or entering the menopausal stage past 52. These ovarian cancer risk factors, evidently, cannot be changed in any way.
However, just because you cannot do something about these risk factors doesn’t mean you are bound to have the disease. There are certain things that you may do to help lower your chances of developing ovarian cancer. They include:
Taking Oral Contraceptives
Based on a study, women who took birth control pills for at least 3 years had 30 to 50 percent lower risk of suffering from ovarian cancer.
Breastfeeding Your Baby
It is a good idea to breastfeed your baby because it provides your little bundle of joy all the nutrients he or she needs for proper growth and development. Here’s one more reason why you should breastfeed: experts say that it may reduce your chances of developing ovarian cancer.
Having a Child
Experts say that giving birth to one or more children can help lower your ovarian cancer risk. This is especially true if your first child is born before you hit the age of 25.
Losing Excess Pounds
Obesity is one of the many preventable risk factors of ovarian cancer. That is why it’s a good idea for you to maintain your ideal weight to reduce your odds of suffering from the said disease. Exercising on a regular basis and healthy eating can help you shed off those unwanted pounds effectively.
Opting for a Low-Fat Diet
According to researches, women who had a low-fat diet for 4 years or longer had considerably lowered risk of suffering from ovarian cancer. Make sure you reduce your intake of foods high in saturated fats such as beef and pork.
Eating More Fruits and Vegetables
A diet that’s loaded with fresh produce is a wonderful way to keep ovarian cancer at bay. Fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, prunes, cranberries, gala apples, red kidney beans, artichokes and sweet potatoes are all loaded with antioxidants that are said to help fend off the development and growth of cancer cells.
Having a Healthy Lifestyle
To considerably lower your chances of having ovarian cancer, quit smoking. Many chemicals in tobacco smoke are carcinogens — substances that trigger cancer cell development. Experts say you should also steer clear of drinking too much alcohol if you want to dodge ovarian cancer.