In the United States, September celebrates National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Never heard of it? I’m not surprised. With only fifteen percent of women diagnosed with stage one of ovarian cancer, it’s obvious that not only do most women not know the dangers of it, but also they don’t know how to protect themselves from it.
While women who are over the age of forty or in post-menopause, are more at risk, ovarian cancer has developed in young women in their twenties. It is a disease that has affected all types of women on a global scale, and it’s time we knew the facts. So here are five tips that every woman should take to prevent ovarian cancer.
1. Keep a Healthy Weight – Women who are considered obese, with a BMI over 30, are more at risk for ovarian cancer and many other life-threatening diseases. By leading an active, healthy lifestyle, you can reduce your risk for this disease. If you currently don’t know what your BMI is, check out the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s easy BMI calculator.
2. Eat Foods High in Vitamins A, D & E and Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Aim for fresh veggies, nuts, beans, fish and eggs in your daily diet. There are plenty of recipes out there full of these amazing nutrients. By sticking to a healthy diet rich in vitamins and good fats, you can keep your waistline trim and reduce your risk for both ovarian cancer and other conditions like heart disease.
3. Reduce Your Risk with Oral Contraceptives – The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance reports that the use of oral contraceptives reduces a woman’s risk for ovarian cancer. Additionally, the longer she takes oral contraceptives, the lower her risk becomes. On average, the using oral contraceptives for five or more years can reduce your risk of ovarian cancer by fifty percent!
4. Avoid Using Talcum Powder and Other Potentially Harmful Chemicals near Your Vagina – Studies and recent talcum powder verdicts have found a correlation between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer. While the exact connection is unknown, wouldn’t you feel safer removing a doubted personal hygiene product from your daily routine? Reduce your risk and keep your body healthy by avoiding talc-based baby powder, dyes, and fragrances in the cleansers and moisturizers that you use near your genitals.
5. Talk to Your Doctor – Women with past experiences of colorectal or breast cancer OR who have a family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer are much more likely to develop ovarian cancer themselves. Inform your doctor of this history, and watch out for changes in your body. Common symptoms of ovarian cancer include bloating, pelvic, abdominal, or stomach pain, feeling the need to urinate more frequently, fatigue, constipation, and menstrual changes.
These symptoms are easily mistaken for typical experiences during a woman’s period, but knowing your body well and relaying any unusual changes in your cycle to your doctor will help make a quicker diagnosis possible if your body does develop ovarian cancer.
It causes 14,000 deaths per year in the United States and ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women. It is the time that those statistics change. We need to keep our mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends safe from the dangers of ovarian cancer by spreading knowledge and awareness. This September, share this information with your female loved ones and help make a difference one woman at a time!
For more information on ways that you can donate to the cause, visit Hope for Heather’s website, a local charity in Central New York, or find a local group in your community to contribute your time, money and love to!