Health organizations want you to know about ovarian cancer

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) – Local health organizations want you to be prepared and know the signs of ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is a disease in which cancerous cells are found inside or on the outer layer of the ovaries.

There are no simple and reliable screening tests, which is why it is important to learn and recognize the warning signs early.

“The only way to get an accurate test for ovarian cancer is to do a biopsy,” said Rudy Bess, co-founder of the Hope Light Foundation. “It takes a gynecological oncologist to remove the area around the suspicious area, the growth. Remove the tumor and send it to a pathologist to determine whether or not it is a cancerous tumor or cancerous tissue.

Bess says the biggest problem is the unknown and what to look for.

“In rural areas especially, there is a lack of OBGYNs. There is a shortage of gynecological oncologists as is the case in metropolitan areas. And it’s very important for us to go out and educate women.

Early warning symptoms include abdominal bloating, difficulty eating, increased urination, feeling abnormally full after eating, and increased urge to urinate.

“The problem is that a lot of these signs mimic gastrointestinal upset,” Bess said. “As a result, women treat these disorders with over-the-counter medications. And they’ll push it off until the pain becomes unbearable, and then they’ll go to their provider. The problem is that most ovarian cancers are detected at an advanced stage because of this.

People most at risk of ovarian cancer are those with a family history of breast, ovarian or colorectal cancer, women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations, women who have never had children and women of Eastern European or Ashkenazi Jewish descent.

Overall, Bess said it’s important to know the signs and symptoms, it’s important to meet your family members and find out if they’ve had ovarian or breast cancer, and if they do, they find a genetic counselor.

“In rural communities it’s a real problem and they need to know the signs and symptoms,” Bess said. “They must be informed about the diagnosis of ovarian cancer and their inheritance, because it has been found that approximately 20 to 25% of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer have a hereditary tendency in their family to develop disease. The sad thing is that 73% of women are normally diagnosed at an advanced stage. This should be a real eye-opener for me.

For more information about ovarian cancer, you can go to http://www.hopelightproject.com/ or call the Southern Seven Health Department or your health care provider.

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