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Woman with abdominal painOvarian cancer kills about 14,000 women in America every year.  You should know the risk factors and warning signs for ovarian cancer because early detection greatly improves the survival rate.

Risk factors for ovarian cancer include being over 40, overweight or obese; having children after age 35 or never having a full-term pregnancy. A family history of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, or colorectal cancer also puts you at a higher risk for ovarian cancer.

Pregnancy and the use of birth control pills have been associated with a lower risk of ovarian cancer. Both reduce the number of times the ovaries release an egg and there could be a connection between ovulation and the risk of developing ovarian cancer.

The most common symptoms of ovarian cancer are pelvic or abdominal pain; trouble eating or feeling full quickly or feeling the need to urinate urgently or often. Some women may experience fatigue; an upset stomach or heartburn; back pain; pain during sex, constipation or menstrual changes.

Having these symptoms doesn’t mean you have ovarian cancer, but you should see your doctor if you experience these for more than two weeks and if changing your diet or exercise or getting more rest doesn’t resolve the problem.

Ovarian cancer is difficult to diagnose at an early stage because the ovaries are deep within the abdominal cavity and you might not feel any symptoms. An annual pelvic exam is important because it offers your doctor an opportunity to look for other warning signs. By knowing your risk factors and the symptoms and having annual exams, you can improve the odds for early detection that can beat ovarian cancer.

Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax