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September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Sep 2, 2015

September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and the health care professionals at Peconic Bay Medical Center are urging women to get screened for this serious disease and spread awareness to other women. As one of the most deadly women’s cancers, ovarian cancer led to nearly 15,000 deaths in the United States in 2014. Early detection can save lives, making it essential for women to get the high-quality cancer services they need.

Who Is at Risk for Ovarian Cancer?

Any woman can develop ovarian cancer, but some women are at higher risk of the disease. In particular, women in their 50s and 60s are significantly more likely to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

A family history of ovarian cancer increases your risk, especially if you are a carrier of the BRCA mutation gene. Among the general population of women, 1.3 percent will develop ovarian cancer during their lifetime. In contrast, 39 percent of women with the BRCA1 mutation and 17 percent of women with the BRCA2 mutation will develop the disease. Increasing access to BRCA genetic screening could save the lives of women at genetic risk for ovarian cancer.

Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer: A Screening Could Save Your Life

Sadly, most women do not receive an ovarian cancer diagnosis until they are in the later stages of cancer. This contributes to the relatively high mortality rate for the disease. The good news is that when the cancer is caught early, approximately 93 percent of patients survive five years or more. There is no definitive screening tool to detect ovarian cancer, but patients should be aware of the following symptoms:

  • Bloating
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Feeling full quickly or having difficulty eating
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Severe fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Nausea, gas or gastrointestinal distress
  • Shortness of breath
  • Backaches

Of course, these symptoms are not specific to ovarian cancer. However, if you have some of these symptoms and they last more than a week or two, it’s smart to contact your Riverhead hospital. One of the goals of National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month is to teach women about ovarian cancer symptoms to improve early detection and treatment.

Peconic Bay Medical Center, a leading medical center on the East End, urges women impacted by ovarian cancer to make an appointment for a cancer screening. In fact, the center offers free cancer screenings to Suffolk County residents who are uninsured and meet eligibility requirements. Contact us today to learn more.