1.3% of women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in their lifetimes. Even though this rate is low, ovarian cancer is the 5th leading cause of cancer death among U.S. women, with over 14,000 deaths each year. This is because ovarian cancer can go easily undetected, causing it to spread throughout the pelvis and stomach and become harder to treat or fatal.
Inaccuracy of Ovarian Cancer Screenings
Only 20% of ovarian cancers are found early on since symptoms often appear in the cancer’s later stages. There are also, unfortunately, few accurate screenings to detect ovarian cancer.
It’s important to note that pap smears don’t detect ovarian cancer. Pap smears are typically used to detect cervical cancer, and rarely find ovarian cancers unless they are in an advanced stage. Screening services for ovarian cancer include the annual, mandatory pelvic exam for women who are 18 or older. A transvaginal sonography, or ultrasound, can also be used to detect ovarian cancer. Blood tests are another option, but they’re not 100% accurate since the protein they test for can also be linked to conditions such as endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease.
The most accurate way to diagnose ovarian cancer is through a tumor biopsy.
Who Should Be Tested for Ovarian Cancer?
The inaccuracy of most ovarian cancer screenings can cause unnecessary fear and stress. If you know that you have a genetic risk of developing ovarian cancer, ask your doctor about the screening options that are best for you. Tell your doctor if you’re experiencing any persistent symptoms like bloating or abdominal pain.
Women who are at an average risk of developing ovarian cancer and are not showing symptoms are not recommended to be screened.
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Know the Symptoms
In its early stages, ovarian cancer may not show strong symptoms. Also, there are several other health conditions with similar symptoms to ovarian cancer. You know your body better than anyone else, and will know if these symptoms are out of the ordinary. Common symptoms of ovarian cancer include:
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
- Feeling the need to urinate urgently or often
- Upset stomach or heartburn
- Back pain
- Pain during sex
- Constipation or menstrual changes
Ovarian cancer can spread quickly when undetected. Once symptoms appear, the cancer is likely in an advanced stage, and should be checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible. The longer a woman waits, the harder the cancer is to treat.
What Can You Do to Reduce Your Risk?
While genetic risks of developing ovarian cancer can’t be reduced, women can focus on keeping their bodies healthy. Taking oral contraceptives for five years or more can decrease ovarian cancer risks by 50%. Surgery of the ovaries can also reduce these risks.
Women should carefully choose the products that they use on their bodies. It’s important to avoid products like baby powders that contain talcum powder, because when used for feminine hygiene, the talc can contribute to an ovarian cancer diagnosis, Lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson have resulted in $750 million settlements for plaintiffs, as there may be links of baby powder causing ovarian cancer.
Call Pintas & Mullins for Help with a Talcum Powder Lawsuit
If you’ve been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and have a history of using Johnson & Johnson baby powder, call our experienced talcum powder attorneys at (800) 794-0444. All consultations are free, and you pay nothing unless we win.