Teal We Find A Cure

OVARIAN CANCER STATISTICS

  • A woman has a 1 in 72 chance of developing ovarian cancer during her lifetime.
  • Over 22,530 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year, which means 61 are diagnosed each day.
  • About 14,000 of them will die this year, which means about 38 die each day.
  • The 5-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is 45%.
  • Only 25% of women with ovarian cancer will be diagnosed when the cancer is at an early stage.  Of those, nearly 92% will live more than 5 years.
  • In contrast, of those women diagnosed with stage IV invasive, epithelial ovarian cancer, only 17% will still be alive in 5 years.

HOW CAN WE PREVENT OVARIAN CANCER?

Know the risk factors for ovarian cancer

  • Age - risk for ovarian cancer increases with age
  • Obesity - women with a BMI of 30 or greater
  • Pregnancy history - women who have never had a full term pregnancy or have their first full term pregnancy over the age of 35
  • Hormones - androgens, post-menopausal estrogen replacement therapy for more than 5 years
  • Family history - of ovarian cancer and/or hereditary genetic predisposition
    • Approximately 18% of ovarian cancer is attributed to mutations in genes inherited from a parent.  The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are responsible for a great proportion; however, alterations in many other genes increase the risk for ovarian cancer (BRIP1, RAD51C, RAD51D, EPCAM, MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, PMS2, STK11, PTEN, TP53, and others).
    • If you have a family history of ovarian and/or breast cancers (or other cancers diagnosed before the age of 50) contact a genetic counselor to discuss genetic testing.
  • Talcum powder - applied to the genital area may increase the risk of ovarian cancer.
  • Smoking - is associated with a specific type of ovarian cancer called mucinous.

 

HOW CAN WE LOWER OUR RISK OF DEVELOPING OVARIAN CANCER?

  • Don’t smoke
  • Oral contraceptive use
  • Depo-Provera use
  • Keep BMI below 30
  • Eat a lower-fat diet
  • Full term pregnancy before the age of 26
  • Know if you have a genetic predisposition

WHAT ELSE CAN WE DO?

  • Get annual pelvic exams
  • See your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:
    • Bloating
    • Abdominal pain
    • Feel full quickly when eating
    • Urinary urgency and/or frequency
    • Fatigue (ongoing)
    • Stomach upset (ongoing)
    • Pain during sex
    • Constipation or change in normal bowel movements
    • Menstrual changes and/or post-menopausal bleeding
    • Abdominal swelling with weight loss
  • Screening tests for ovarian cancer- overall, there hasn’t been much success
    • CA-125 blood test
      • In women who already have ovarian cancer, CA-125 levels can be high; however, high CA-125 levels can occur with other conditions, too.
    • Transvaginal ultrasound
      • It can be used to find a mass on the ovaries, but it can’t tell if it’s cancer or not.

FOR WOMEN WHO HAVE A GENETIC PREDISPOSITION TO DEVELOP OVARIAN CANCER AND/OR FAMILY HISTORY OF OVARIAN CANCER

  • Use of oral contraceptives
  • CA-125 blood test and transvaginal ultrasound
  • Prophylactic removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes after childbearing is complete or by age 35-40 (this also cuts breast cancer risk in half)
  • Targeted therapy like PARP inhibitors (drug) for treatment
  • In addition, women who have a genetic predisposition:
  • May be at increased risk for other types of cancer (more targeted screening and/or surgical options)
  • Family members have a 50% chance of inheriting the same genetic predisposition

CURRENT RESEARCH

  • Removing the fallopian tubes but leaving ovaries in until later
  • Better ways to screen for ovarian cancer
  • Utility of aspirin and acetaminophen for risk reduction
  • Treatment- targeted therapy (drugs)
  • Immunotherapy (tumor vaccines)
  • Liquid biopsies
  • Diet
  • WE NEED MORE!! THAT’S WHY WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!!

References:

  • American Cancer Society

  • FORCE (facingourrisk.org)

Written by:

Justine Snyder, MS, CGC
Licensed Genetic Counselor
Hereditary Cancer Program
St Elizabeth Healthcare
859-301-5396
[email protected]