Med Center Health OBGYN discusses importance of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

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Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 1:04 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and although the exact cause is unknown, anyone with ovaries is at risk.

Ovarian Cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the ovaries grow out of control and divide. The disease is often called the silent killer because many signs or symptoms are easily ignored and progression of the disease is usually found in the later stages.

Only about one in five or 20% of cases are detected early.

“2020 had roughly 18,500 new cases of ovarian cancer with a little over 13,000 deaths,” Med Center Health OBGYN, Dr. Benjamin Banasiewicz, said.

Some of the common signs of the disease include bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, trouble eating or feeling full, back pain, and the need to urinate more often.

“The CDC recommends if you’ve had changes that are not normal for you, for over two weeks, to let your physician know,” Dr. Banasiewicz said, “Ovarian cancer is kind of the scary part of that, most of the time that’s not what it is.”

He added that because the symptoms were similar to other diseases, ovarian cancer is often misdiagnosed. As of right now, there are no ways to prevent it, but there are ways to reduce the risk, such as stopping ovulation.

“People that have had no children are at an increased risk,” Dr. Banasiewicz said, “The more children you have, the lower your risk is, in addition to that breastfeeding also helps reduce your risk of being on birth control pills for more than five years, helps reduce that risk.”

In addition, while having a family history of cancer can increase the risk of getting ovarian cancer, Dr. Banasiewicz said most cases are spontaneous.

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