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Ovarian Cancer: The Overlooked Killer by Jonathan Meyer

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In today’s world of Health, I believe all of us have heard of the disease cancer and its various forms.  The form of cancer that is most heard about in our society due to media would have to be Breast Cancer. A different and dangerous form of cancer that no one hears about in the United States is Ovarian Cancer. This is a difficult cancer to identify due to its symptoms being similar to the symptoms females experience during their menstrual cycles.  According to the American Cancer Society symptoms of Ovarian Cancer include fatigue, upset stomach and back pain, pain during sex, constipation, menstrual changes, and abdominal swelling with weight loss. If there is a change such as an irregular cycle, bleeding, or a woman who has entered menopause and is having bleeding then she should contact her OBGYN for a checkup. Due to many of the women ignoring these signs thinking they are natural body functions, most women are not diagnosed until it is too late to stop the cancer from spreading or becoming too dangerous.  Another way women can detect the disease before it reaches a deadly state is to ask their OBGYN to conduct an ultrasound of their ovaries during their checkup. Women should ask for an ultrasound of the ovaries even if they are receiving a Pap smear, due to the Pap smear not checking the cells around the ovaries. This can then show if there are any tumors present.

According to the American Cancer Society in two thousand and thirteen around 22,240 women will be diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer and 14, 230 women will die from it. This means only 63.9% of the women diagnosed are going to survive.  Also, the risks of women getting Ovarian Cancer are 1 in 72, and the risks of dying from it are 1 in 100. It is in the top five types of cancers which are responsible for the deaths of women. It is known as the fifth most deadly cancer. Yet it is ninth in the top ten types of cancer that women acquire. It is more common for women over the age of 63 to develop this rather than younger women in the United States.

There have been many hypotheses as to why Ovarian Cancer develops and they include age, obesity, birth control, breast cancer history, diet, and as well as the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. The American Cancer Society says that these genes are most commonly found when women are diagnosed with breast cancer, then after breast cancer, they can lead to the development of Ovarian Cancer. There is no prevention of these types of genes for they are passed down genetically from the female’s family line. This gene is originally there in one’s body to protect women from developing cancer, but if the gene mutates it will then cause cancer in the breasts and the ovaries. Recently released by the media, Angelina Jolie publicly announced that she herself had found out she had the carrier gene, BRCA1. Angelina made a bold and brave decision in regard to her finding of this gene. Both her mother and her grandmother suffered from Breast and Ovarian Cancer, which abruptly ended their lives.

According to an article from Fox News, she had an 87% chance of developing breast cancer. In order to reduce the chances of developing Breast Cancer she took action by having a double mastectomy. She is also currently spreading awareness about this gene to the public and to women around the world. Since she carries the BRCA1 gene she will also have to monitor her ovaries since she is predisposed to getting Ovarian Cancer. This can be a very silent and deadly disease; however, with awareness being brought to the public eye, more women will be saved from this catastrophic disease.



“Angelina Jolie Reveals She Had Preventive Double Mastectomy after Discovering Cancer Gene.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 14 May 2013. Web. 24 May 2013.

“Do We Know What Causes Ovarian Cancer?” Do We Know What Causes Ovarian Cancer? N.p., n.d. Web. 24 May 2013.

“What Are the Key Statistics about Ovarian Cancer?” What Are the Key Statistics about Ovarian Cancer? N.p., n.d. Web. 24 May 2013.

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“How Is Ovarian Cancer Diagnosed?” How Is Ovarian Cancer Diagnosed? N.p., n.d. Web. 24 May 2013.



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