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June, 2007

Highlights in Minority Health
September, 2003

Gynecological/Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Teal ribbon. Collage of women.


  Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States. The number of new ovarian cancer cases is decreasing slightly each year. In addition, fewer deaths are resulting from ovarian cancer.
  About 1 in every 57 women in the United States will develop ovarian cancer. Most cases occur in women over the age of 50, but this disease can also affect younger women.
  The age-adjusted mortality rate is highest among white women, followed by Hawaiian women, and black women.
  The main screening tools for ovarian cancer are pelvic examination, transvaginal ultrasonography, CA 125, Pap smear (or test), and culdocentesis.
  The sooner ovarian cancer is found and treated, the better a woman's chance for recovery. But ovarian cancer is hard to detect early. Many times, women with ovarian cancer have no symptoms or just mild symptoms until the disease is in an advanced stage. Scientists are studying ways to detect ovarian cancer before symptoms develop.
  As we learn more about what causes ovarian cancer, we may also learn how to reduce the chance of getting this disease. Some studies have shown that breast feeding and taking birth control pills (oral contraceptives) may decrease a woman's likelihood of developing ovarian cancer.  Women who have had an operation that prevents pregnancy (tubal ligation) or have had their uterus and cervix removed (hysterectomy) also have a lower risk of developing ovarian cancer. In addition, some evidence suggests that reducing the amount of fat in the diet may lower the risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  Women who are concerned about ovarian cancer may want to talk with a doctor who specializes in treating women with cancer: a gynecologist, a gynecologic oncologist, or a medical oncologist. The doctor may be able to suggest ways to reduce the likelihood of developing ovarian cancer and can plan an appropriate schedule for checkups.
  Some Questions To Ask Your Doctor
    What tests can diagnose ovarian cancer?
    Are they painful? Do they carry any other risks to my health?
    How soon after the tests will I learn the results?
    What type of ovarian cancer do I have?
    What treatments are recommended for me?
    What clinical trials are appropriate for my type of cancer?
    Will I need to be in the hospital to receive my treatment? For how long?
    How might my normal activities change during my treatment?
  Side Effects
    What side effects should I expect? How long will they last?
    Whom should I call if I am concerned about a side effect?
    After treatment, how often do I need to be checked? What type of follow-up care should I have?
    Will I eventually be able to resume my normal activities?
  The Health Care Team
    Who will be involved with my treatment and follow-up care? What is the role of each member of the health care team in my care?
    What has been your experience in caring for patients with ovarian cancer?
    Are there support groups in the area with people I can talk to?
    Are there organizations where I can get more information about ovarian cancer?

For More Information:

National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion (NCCDPHP) Cancer Prevention & Control

  Ovarian Cancer Control Initiatives
  Spotlight on Ovarian Cancer
  National Breast & Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
  Cervical Cancer and Specific Populations

National Cancer Institute (NCI)

  Ovarian Cancer Home Page
  Gynecologic Cancers
    Cervical Cancer
    Endometrial Cancer
    Gestational Trophoblastic Tumor
    Ovarian Epithelial Cancer
    Ovarian Germ Cell Tumor
    Ovarian Low Malignant Potential Tumor
    Uterine Sarcoma
    Vaginal Cancer
    Vulvar Cancer


The White House Presidential Proclamations

  National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month 2003
American Cancer Society (ACS)
  Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month 2003
University of Virginia Medical School
  Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month 2003



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