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Ovarian Cancer is called
"The Silent Killer" because by the time you know you have it, it is often diagnosed in
Stage III or IV. By that time, for many, it may be too late to overcome eventual death.
Of all the female cancers, Ovarian Cancer is the most deadly, the most malignant of them.
Three-fourths of the women diagnosed in the latter stages will die within five years.
Ovarian Cancer, occuring in
one of every 55 women, is the fifth most common female cancer.
Medical personnel say that
over 25,000 women in this country will be diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer in 1998.
More than 14,000 women in this
country will die from Ovarian Cancer in 1998.
The PAP Smear test is for
Cervical Cancer and rarely detects Ovarian Cancer.
Because Ovarian Cancer is
so hard to detect, only about one-fourth of the cases are in Stage I when diagnosed.
The survival rate, when detected in Stage I is about 93%. About 76% of women with Ovarian
Cancer live longer than one year after they are diagnosed. 46% survive for five years. Only
24% of those women with Advanced Ovarian Cancer, Stage III or IV, will survive five years.
Unfortunately, since symptoms emulate other problems, often thought to be be normal "female problems" or associated
aging or menopause, women often make the fatal mistake of discounting their discomforture.
This can cost them their life, as it did Faye.
If you have had any of the
symptoms listed on the Symptoms page for several weeks in a row, you should be talking with
your doctor or gynecologist. If the cancer spreads beyond the ovaries, as in Stage III or
IV it may be too late to reverse it.
Who is at risk? Women with a
personal history of Breast or other cancers. Those who have a family history of Ovarian Cancer.
Exposure to asbestos, and talc. Women who have never become pregnant. Age, although this
cancer is known to attack young and old. It is NO respecter of age.
The best way to detect Ovarian
Cancer is through regular and thorough pelvic exams. If a woman has a family history of Ovarian
or Breast Cancer there are genetic screening and registrys available. Doctors and
Gynecologists also need to listen closely to what their patients tell them about their symptoms.
What reduces the risk of getting
Ovarian Cancer? Pregnancy and breast feeding. Birth control pills are now thought to reduce the
How to detect recurrence. Maintain
an aggressive examination and CA-125 tumor marker blood tests. The patient should be very much
aware of her body and share any symptoms of recurrence with her medical staff.
New organizations have been formed
recently to combat Ovarian Cancer. One is The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, in Washington, DC. Another is the National
Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC), which is active in forming chapters in each state.
What does the future bring in the way
of early detection and future treatment? Vaginal ultrasound testing combined with CA-125 tests are
being studied. A vaccine is in the early stages of being developed to prevent recurrence. This vaccine
is being touted as a way to help the immune system detect cancer cells not now being detected. The use of Plasma
LPA (lysophosphatidic acid) may be a marker for Ovarian and other Gynecological cancers. More studies
are needed in this area.
The above information is
courtesy of the American Cancer Society.
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Last Updated on 09/20/98