According to the American Cancer Society, ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cancer in women (excluding skin cancer), and ranks fifth as the cause of cancer deaths in women. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 22,430 women will be diagnosed with the disease in the United States this year, and approximately 15,280 women will die this year from ovarian cancer. Two-thirds of women with ovarian cancer are 55 or older, with Caucasian women slightly more at risk than African-American women. A woman's risk of getting ovarian cancer during her lifetime is about 1 in 67. The risk of getting this cancer and dying from it is 1 in 95.
U.S. News reports that although most cases of ovarian cancer cannot be prevented, women can do certain things that may lower risk of developing ovarian cancer:
- Taking oral contraceptives (birth control pills) for more than five years reduces the risk by about 50 percent.
- Breastfeeding may decrease the risk of ovarian cancer.
- Healthy diet and regular exercise are important ways to reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases.
- Tubal ligation (having the fallopian tubes tied) may also decrease the risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer begins in the ovaries, and because the symptoms are often common and vague, diagnosing the disease is difficult. Some of the symptoms of ovarian cancer are:
- General abdominal discomfort or pain (gas, indigestion, pressure, swelling, bloating, cramps)
- Nausea, diarrhea, constipation, or frequent urination
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling of fullness even after a light meal
- Unexplained weight gain or loss
- Abnormal bleeding from the vagina
- Unusual fatigue (tiredness)
Often times these symptoms seem minor, or can be explained by other less serious conditions. For example, a woman may think that because she's getting older, it's probably normal that she is gaining weight, or tires easily. However, if any of the symptoms persist for a period of time, you should see your doctor.
The Pittsburgh medical malpractice law firm of Rosen Louik & Perry, P.C. has represented plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases involving the failure to timely and properly diagnose cancer. If you or someone you know believes they have been the victim of medical malpractice, contact our experienced medical malpractice lawyers for a FREE consultation. We are a firm dedicated to holding medical professionals responsible for their mistakes with the goal of improving the health care system.