Ovarian Cancer is no respector of age. Young women in their teens, early twenties, and older have been known to contact this disease. A recent study revealed that there ARE symptoms, even in the early stages...they are very subtle, but there ARE symptoms. Even if you have had your ovaries removed, you are still at risk. 20% of the ovarian cancers are in women with no ovaries. It's called Primary Peritoneal cancer because it arises in the peritoneum. The ovaries and the peritoneum arise from the same stem cell. Therefore, their cells are virtually identical. That's why women can get what is essentially ovarian cancer...in their Peritoneum. Women should not feel "safe" just because they've had their ovaries removed. (Thanks to Carolyn Benivegna of the Ovarian Cancer Alliance in Florida for some of this information). Although ovarian cancer is curable if diagnosed early, it remains the most lethal gynecologic cancer because it is so difficult to detect. There is no early detection method for ovarian cancer. Don't be mistaken ... a PAP test is used to detect cervical cancer. It very rarely detects ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecological malignancies in the United States. The survival rate of women diagnosed with early-stage ovarian cancer is higher than those with advanced-stage, however most women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed with advanced-stage disease. The lifetime risk of women developing ovarian cancer increases according to the number of first-degree family members who have had ovarian cancer. Epidemiologic data has established that woman's lifetime risk of developing epithelial ovarian cancer is approximately 1 in 70 . The relative risk for a woman with a single first-degree relative with ovarian cancer is estimated as being 3.6 times that of the general population (1 in 20).
DO NOT DISCOUNT YOUR FEELINGS OF DIS-EASE!
To date, no screening test have been shown to be effective. Often there are no symptoms in the early stages and in many cases, the cancer has spread by the time it is found. Therefore, it is important for women NOT to discount their feelings of disease, but to pay attention to vague symptoms that persist longer than the length of time it would take for a normal flu (3 to 4 weeks) to subside.
For future use, I recommend that you take the time to print out the above symptoms and keep them in a place where you can review them on a regular basis.