When Is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month is in September. Ovarian cancer is the second most prevalent gynecologic cancer in the United States, and it is the disease of the female reproductive system that results in the most fatalities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What does ovarian cancer month entail?

This Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, our great community as a whole accomplished so much.

Whether you advocated for change, shared your experiences, or collected money or awareness

The difference you have made is enormous and will alter the course of ovarian cancer patients’ lives.

Here are just a few examples of what we’ve been up to as a group:

  • need awareness to ensure that everyone receives a timely diagnosis and life-saving care. More than 15,000 of you have signed our open letters to UK government officials.
  • raising essential cash to support our work, our advocacy efforts, our research into more humane medical treatments, and the development of our supportive network. You’ve ridden a bike for tens of thousands of kilometers, baked hundreds of cakes, and taken 4.5 million steps.
  • sharing your experiences on television, in newspapers, and on social media so that everyone is aware of the symptoms to watch for.
  • influencing policymakers by converting over 100 political officials into Teal Heroes and vowing to advocate for improved support, diagnosis, and treatment.

When is Women’s Cancer Awareness Month?

All malignancies of the female reproductive system, including those of the cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, vulva, and vagina, are referred to as gynecological cancers. These malignancies pose a threat to all females.

Over 29,000 women die from gynecological cancers each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Roughly 89,000 women are diagnosed with them. Different gynecological cancers have various warning signs, symptoms, and risk factors. Risk rises as people age.

The following are the main groups of gynecological cancers:

Cervical HPV (human papillomavirus) infection is virtually always the root cause of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer risk is higher in women who do not routinely undergo testing to identify HPV or abnormal cells in the cervix.

Ovarian epithelial cancer, which starts in the tissue covering the ovary, the lining of the fallopian tube, or the peritoneum; ovarian germ cell tumors, which start in the egg or germ cells; and ovarian low malignant potential tumors, which start in the tissue covering the ovary. There are three different types of ovarian cancer in adults.

The tissues of the uterus, the organ in which a fetus grows, are where uterine cancer begins. Endometrial cancer and uterine sarcoma are the two kinds of uterine cancer.

The tissues of the endometrium, or uterine lining, are where endometrial cancer develops. Endometrial cancer risk factors include being obese, having high blood pressure, and having diabetes.

A uncommon form of cancer called uterine sarcoma develops in the tissues that support the uterus or in the uterine muscles. The risk of uterine sarcoma can rise when receiving radiation therapy and being exposed to X-rays.

Both forms of uterine cancer are at increased risk due to the use of the breast cancer medication tamoxifen.

Vaginal cancer can be classified into two primary categories: squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Squamous cell cancer is less likely than adenocarcinoma to spread to the lymph nodes and lungs. Diethylstilbestrol (DES) prenatal exposure has been associated to a rare kind of cancer.

After menopause, women are more likely to develop adenocarcinomas that are unrelated to DES exposure.

Within a woman’s exterior genitalia, vulvar cancer develops. The outer vaginal lips are more frequently affected by vulvar cancer.

Long-lasting abnormal cell growth is possible on the vulvar skin’s surface. Vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia is the medical term for this disorder (VIN). It’s critical to seek treatment because VIN can develop into vulvar cancer.

A history of genital warts, VIN, and HPV infection are all risk factors for vulvar cancer.

How long will someone with ovarian cancer live?

A individual with stage 1 ovarian cancer has either one or both ovaries where the cancer has been discovered. Stage 1 ovarian cancer is found in 15% of cases in women.

  • Stage 1A: One ovary is affected by cancer.
  • Cancer is discovered inside both ovaries at stage 1B.
  • Stage 1C: One or both ovaries have cancer, and one of the following is true:
  • Moreover, one or both ovaries’ external surfaces have malignancy;
  • the ovary’s capsule, or outer covering, has torn or broken open; or
  • Cancer cells can be identified in the fluid of the peritoneal cavity, which is the bodily cavity that houses the majority of the abdominal organs, or in peritoneal washings (tissue lining the peritoneal cavity).

What is the survival rate for Stage 1 ovarian cancer?

The prognosis for most women with Stage 1 ovarian cancer is very good. Patients in stages 1A and 1B, as well as those with grade 1 tumors, have a 5-year survival rate of above 90%. Studies of a lot of people are frequently used to determine survival rates, but these studies cannot forecast what will happen to any one individual. The prognosis of a woman is also influenced by other factors, including as overall health, cancer grade, and response to treatment.

About 3 out of 4 (72.4 percent) women with ovarian cancer survive for at least a year following diagnosis when all kinds of ovarian cancer are combined. Nearly half (46.2%) of ovarian cancer patients are still living at least five years following their diagnosis. Those diagnosed before age 65 fare better than women diagnosed beyond that age.

How come ovarian cancer is teal?

Sept. 3, 2021, Ted Escobedo Teal is worn during Wear Teal Day to promote ovarian cancer awareness. Wearing the color can help start conversations that educate others about the signs and risk factors of the disease, which will help increase the likelihood of an early diagnosis and effective treatment.

Is cancer in stage 4 irreversible?

Cancer at stage 4 is not always fatal. It usually requires more intensive therapy because it is progressed.

Cancer that is terminal is one that cannot be cured and will eventually take a person’s life. Some people would refer to it as terminal cancer. When a doctor declares that a patient’s cancer is terminal, it typically signifies that the disease is so far along that there are no longer any effective ways to treat it. Cancers that are more advanced are more likely to be fatal.

The possibility of surviving for a specific amount of time, like five years, when a doctor diagnoses cancer is expressed by survival rates. When breast cancer has progressed to distant parts of the body, the 5-year survival rate is 28%, suggesting that 28% of patients make it through this time.

According to the American Cancer Society, the same percentage is 30% for men whose prostate cancer has progressed to remote locations.

Depending on the cancer type, survival rates can change. Mesothelioma that has migrated to distant locations has a 7 percent 5-year survival rate. This rate is 3% for distant pancreatic cancer.

However, it is important to keep in mind that these rates are based on a substantial amount of historical data. They might not represent current developments in medicine and healthcare. Additionally, a vast array of variables affect each person’s life expectancy.

The procedure of figuring out a cancer’s stage and severity is complicated. All the factors that govern how cancer develops and impacts the body are still unknown to medical professionals. Life expectancy forecasting is quite challenging. The sort of cancer, where it is located, and whether the patient has any other underlying medical disorders are just a few of the numerous factors the doctor will take into account.

Getting older

Age increases the likelihood of acquiring ovarian cancer. In women under the age of 40, ovarian cancer is uncommon. After menopause, most ovarian malignancies start to appear. Women 63 years of age or older account for half of all cases of ovarian cancer.

Being overweight or obese

Numerous malignancies are more likely to be developed in people who are obese. Obesity and the risk of ovarian cancer are not well understood at this time. Obese women (those with a body mass index of at least 30) are undoubtedly more likely to get ovarian cancer, though perhaps not the most severe forms, like high-grade serous tumors. A woman with ovarian cancer may experience worse overall survival if she is obese.

Having children later or never having a full-term pregnancy

Ovarian cancer risk is increased in women who have their first full-term pregnancy after the age of 35 or who have never carried a baby to term.

Taking hormone therapy after menopause

Compared to women who have never used hormones, those who use estrogen alone or in combination with progesterone after menopause have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.

Having a family history of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, or colorectal cancer

Cancer of the ovary can run in families. If your mother, sister, or daughter has (or has had) ovarian cancer, your risk of developing it is enhanced. The risk increases in proportion to the number of relatives who have the disease. Ovarian cancer risk may also be higher on your father’s side.

Ovarian cancer risk is correlated with a family history of certain cancers, including colorectal and breast cancer. This is due to the possibility that these tumors are brought on by inherited mutations (changes) in specific genes, which result in a familial cancer syndrome and raise the risk of ovarian cancer.

Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome (HBOC)

Inherited mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, as well as probably some other genes that have not yet been identified, are the cause of this syndrome. This syndrome is associated with an increased risk of ovarian, fallopian tube, and primary peritoneal malignancies in addition to breast cancer. There is also an elevated risk for some other malignancies, including pancreatic and prostate cancer.

The majority of inherited ovarian malignancies are also caused by mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2. The prevalence of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations is almost ten times higher in Ashkenazi Jews than in the general American population.

Women with a BRCA1 mutation are thought to have a lifetime risk of ovarian cancer of between 35 and 70 percent. This indicates that if 100 women were affected by the BRCA1 mutation, 35 to 70 of them would develop ovarian cancer. By the age of 70, the risk is thought to be between 10% and 30% higher for women who have BRCA2 mutations. Additionally, these alterations raise the dangers of fallopian tube cancer and primary peritoneal carcinoma.

In contrast, the lifetime risk of ovarian cancer for women in the general population is less than 2%.

Hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC)

In addition to having an increased risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer, women with this syndrome also have an extremely high chance of acquiring colon cancer. This syndrome can be brought on by numerous distinct genes. MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, PMS2, and EPCAM are some of them. Women with hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer have a lifetime risk of ovarian cancer of roughly 10%. Women with this syndrome are up to 1% of all ovarian epithelial carcinoma cases. HNPCC is often referred to as Lynch syndrome.

Peutz-Jeghers syndrome

Teenagers who have this uncommon genetic disease start to develop polyps in their bowel and stomach. Additionally, they have a significant risk of developing cancer, particularly digestive system cancer (esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon). Women who have this syndrome are more likely to develop ovarian cancer, including epithelial ovarian cancer and sex cord tumors with annular tubules, a kind of stromal tumor (SCTAT). The STK11 gene is the source of the condition.

MUTYH-associated polyposis

People who have this syndrome grow polyps in their small intestine and colon and are at a higher risk of developing colon cancer. Additionally, they have a higher risk of developing bladder and ovarian cancer. The MUTYH gene is the source of the syndrome.

Other genes associated with hereditary ovarian cancer

There are more genes associated with ovarian cancer in addition to the gene alterations previously described. These include PALB2, ATM, BRIP1, RAD51C, and RAD51D. Some of these genes are also linked to malignancies like pancreatic and breast cancer.

Using fertility treatment

According to What Is Ovarian Cancer?, in vitro fertilization (IVF) for fertility treatment appears to raise the incidence of ovarian tumors with “borderline” or “low malignant potential.” However, other studies have not demonstrated an elevated risk of invasive ovarian cancer with reproductive medications. You should talk to your doctor about the possible hazards if you use reproductive medications.

Having had breast cancer

You may have a higher risk of getting ovarian cancer if you’ve had breast cancer. This is due to a number of factors. Breast cancer risk may be impacted by some of the same ovarian cancer reproductive risk factors. Women with a history of breast cancer in their families are most at risk for developing ovarian cancer after breast cancer. A hereditary mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene and hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome, which is connected to an elevated risk of ovarian cancer, may be the causes of a significant family history of breast cancer.

How come ovarian cancer is so deadly?

Teal has always been one of my favorite colors because of the peacefulness and peace it evokes. However, this month, wearing teal serves a deeper purpose beyond aesthetics: Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month is in September.

Ovarian cancer has no known obvious cause, although several things can clearly make you more likely to have it. These include family history of ovarian or breast cancer, genetics (existence of a particular gene mutation), age (older women are more likely to develop the disease), and past disorders affecting the reproductive system. In addition, it has been demonstrated that the use of fertility therapies, estrogen hormone replacement therapy, and infertility all raise the chance of developing ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is particularly lethal because it rarely exhibits signs in the early stages of the disease. Sadly, this means that it frequently goes unnoticed until the disease has already advanced to the pelvis and abdomen, at which point it is usually too late to do anything.

As if that weren’t frightening enough, when late-stage symptoms do start to emerge, they might be confused for non-threatening diseases like bloating, swelling, weight loss, pelvic discomfort, frequent urination, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome, to name a few. As a result, many women are unaware of the risk even when late stage symptoms start to show. Because of this, ovarian cancer is frequently referred to as a silent killer, and raising public awareness and educating people about it must be a top focus.

The disease is also quite difficult to diagnose, but it can be done by a variety of imaging tests, blood tests, and ultimately exploratory surgery to both confirm the diagnosis and determine the stage of the cancer.

Unfortunately, there are not many effective treatments for ovarian cancer. When ovarian cancer is in its late stages, it is typically deadly and very difficult to treat. The removal of the ovaries and any adjacent reproductive organs, combined with chemotherapy to eradicate any leftover cancer cells, is a viable treatment option for ovarian cancer if it is discovered at an early stage (while the cancer is still contained to the ovary). The likelihood of success increases with earlier cancer detection and less invasive surgery. Early detection is therefore vitally essential.

Although there is no way to completely avoid ovarian cancer, some circumstances, such as the use of oral contraceptives, pregnancy, and nursing, have been linked to a lower risk. However, if you believe you may be at danger, the greatest thing you can do for yourself is to have regular checkups with your doctor.

By being knowledgeable, educating others, and donning lots of teal, you can contribute to ovarian cancer awareness. You’ll look stunning while doing it!

For more information on ovarian cancer, check out two articles from our September/October issue of The Women’s Health Activist:

  • Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month is in September.
  • Oncologists Neglect the Best Ovarian Cancer Treatment