Understanding Ovarian Cancer
Understanding Ovarian Cancer
It is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of death in women, but it is not well-known or understood by the larger population. With it impacting so many women and people with ovaries we think it is important that we all understand it a little better.
What is ovarian cancer?
Ovarian cancer is cancer of the ovaries which produce the eggs that when fertilized become fetuses. It generally goes undetected until it spreads within the pelvis and belly. Though it can go unnoticed the symptoms of ovarian cancer included: vaginal bleeding or discharge, pain or pressure in the pelvic region, abdominal/back pain, bathroom, and a change in bathroom habits. Though there is no known cause of ovarian cancer, there are some things that have been associated with lowering the likelihood: being on the pill for five or more years, getting tubal ligation, having ovaries removed, or a hysterectomy, giving birth, and breastfeeding.
How do you test for ovarian cancer?
There really isn’t a way to test for ovarian cancer. Because of where the ovaries are in the body testing that is done for something like cervical cancer is not possible for the ovaries. There are tests such as rectovaginal pelvic exams, transvaginal ultrasounds, and blood tests that can be done, but most doctors do not do them unless you are showing symptoms. The best thing you can do is pay attention to your body and if you notice any symptoms go to your medical provider.
How does ovarian cancer impact sexuality?
Just like all other forms of cancer, having cancer doesn’t mean you are no longer a sexual being. It means that you may have to adapt to some changes in regards to your sexuality but it does not erase your sexuality. Making changes so that sexual activity and relationships brings you pleasure may take some getting used to, but there are resources to help you. A great place to start is learning what changes can happen to your sexuality and intimacy due to cancer and cancer treatments. Hearing what other people have done to adjust or adapt can also be beneficial. You can check out the podcast Dying for Sex or the Sex & Cancer episode of The Thing About Cancer. Always remember that the timeline for becoming sexual and intimate after a cancer diagnosis or cancer treatment is yours and you control it.
What can you do to help support people with ovarian cancer?
If you are wondering what you can do to support people with ovarian cancer or help with researching ovarian cancer, you have options. Shopping with Lion’s Den during the month of September you can round up your total and that amount goes to the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Ohio. You can also work with, support, and learn from other ovarian cancer organizations.
Our health is extremely important, and we must be conscious and mindful to notice and know if something is off or different. Even if you don’t have ovaries understanding and knowing about ovarian cancer is important because you probably have people in your life that do have ovaries and just talking to them about it can spread knowledge they may not have had.