Ovarian cancer is the fourth leading cause of death in American women and according to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 22,000 women will be diagnosed with the disease and 14,000 will die from it.
“Any woman who experiences unexplained bloating, an upset stomach, an urgency to urinate or abdominal pain for a few weeks, should go see a doctor,” said Peter Dottino, MD, Director of Gynecologic Oncology, the Mount Sinai Health System. “Too often, women are sent to a gastroenterologist, or told they’re just aging when experiencing these kinds of symptoms, and by then they have lost valuable time.”
Mount Sinai experts are available during September’s Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month to offer tips on detecting symptoms, understanding the benefits of genetic testing, and to discuss emerging therapies.
Experts Available for Interview
- Nimesh Nagarsheth, MD, Associate Professor Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Know Ovarian Cancer Symptoms
Because the ovaries are small and embedded deep within the abdominal cavity, detection is difficult. Since the prognosis depends on the stage and grade of the cancer, it’s especially important to recognize the following symptoms:
- Abnormal orbleeding post-menopause
Know Ovarian Cancer Risks
- Family and personal history: more than 10 percent of ovarian cancers are attributed to inherited genetic mutations. Mutations in andare responsible for most inherited ovarian cancers. The lifetime ovarian cancer risk for women with amutation is estimated to be between 40 and 50 percent. ( mutations: between 10 percent and 29 percent by age 70.) In comparison, the ovarian cancer lifetime risk for the women in the general population is less than 2 percent.
- Age: Ovarian cancer is not a normal disease of aging, but risk increases with age. Most ovarian cancers develop after menopause, and half of all ovarian cancers are found in women 63 years of age or older.
- Hormone therapy: Long term use of oral contraceptives reduces the risk of developing ovarian cancer by approximately 50 percent.