Ovarian cancer is the fourth leading cause of death in American women. Approximately 22,000 women are diagnosed annually and 14,000 die from the disease. September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month and Mount Sinai experts are sharing tips on prevention.
Expert Available for Interview
David A. Fishman, MD, Professor and Fellowship Director in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine is available for media interviews. Dr. Fishman is Director of the National Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Program at The Mount Sinai Medical Center
The most important tip is to determine whether or not you have a family history of ovarian cancer, and, if you do, to consider genetic testing and possibly surgery. Because there is no effective surveillance technique for the detection of early stage ovarian cancer, genetic testing and surgery can be life-saving, according to Dr. David Fishman. “For women who have tested positive for a BRCA mutation, who are at risk for developing ovarian cancer, one option is prophylactic surgery, in which the ovaries and fallopian tubes are removed, to prevent developing ovarian cancer,” he says. “A formal genetic evaluation by a board-certified genetic counselor or geneticist is recommended for any individual (male or female) who has a family history of relatives with breast or ovarian cancer.”
Facts About Ovarian Cancer
– Approximately 75 percent of women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed with late stage disease and only 15-40 percent of diagnosed patients survive five years after initial aggressive cytoreductive surgery and years of multiagent chemotherapy.
– Almost 90 percent of women diagnosed with the disease confined to the ovary (stage I), have an overall five-year survival. They also require less surgical intervention, may not require chemotherapy and have a significantly improved quality of life.
Tips for Ovarian Cancer Prevention
– Family history can be important: At least 10 percent of ovarian cancers are attributed to the inheritance of gene mutations (such as BRCA, HNPCC) which can be associated with other cancers (breast, colon, endometrial, thyroid and melanoma).
– Take oral contraceptives: Long term use of oral contraceptives reduces the risk of developing ovarian cancer.
– Follow a healthy diet: Eat a diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables; limit intake of red or processed meat; and limit alcohol intake.
– Pay attention to symptoms: Swollen or bloated abdomen; pressure or pain in abdomen, pelvis, back or legs; difficulty eating or feeling full quickly; nausea, indigestion, gas constipation or diarrhea; feel tired; urinary symptoms; and unusual vaginal bleeding.
Source: The Mount Sinai Medical Center