Because early signs are often easy to ignore, 140,000 women worldwide die of the disease every year. A major shift is needed in the prevention and treatment of ovarian cancer, according to a doctor who specializes in the disease. “Ovarian cancer is often diagnosed too late,” said Dr. David Fishman, director of the cancer center and gynecologic oncology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens.
“It’s important for women to know their risk [of] contracting this deadly disease, and its earliest warning signs,” he added.
All women are at risk of ovarian cancer, and one in 75 will develop the disease, Fishman said. More than 250,000 women worldwide are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year, and 140,000 die from it. Fishman stressed that a clean pap test does not mean a woman’s ovaries are cancer-free. Pap tests diagnose cervical disease, not ovarian cancer.
Some call ovarian cancer a “silent” killer. Its early symptoms are mild and easy to ignore, according to Fishman. They include bloating, indigestion and nausea, pain in the abdomen and back, feeling full quickly, frequent urination, weight gain and shortness of breath. Women who have these symptoms for more than a week should consult a doctor, he suggested.
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