World Ovarian Cancer Day
World Ovarian Cancer Day is an annual global healthcare event held on May 8th to raise awareness about ovarian cancer. On this day, several local and worldwide organizations join forces to raise awareness of the disease and the necessity of early detection and screening. Ovarian cancer is the 3rd most common cancer affecting women in India, but still, many women are not aware of this cancer. Unfortunately, there are no simple and reliable screening tests for ovarian cancer, and early symptoms are often confused with less serious disorders. Hence a greater number of cases are diagnosed at later stages. When ovarian cancer is found early, treatment works best, and around ninety-four percent of patients live longer than five years after diagnosis. This puts us in the position to know more about ovarian cancer. Let's discuss the important aspects of ovarian cancer on World ovarian cancer day 2023.
World Ovarian Cancer Day 2023 Theme
This year's World Ovarian Cancer Day theme is "No Woman Left Behind," which is the second consecutive year in a three-year campaign emphasizing the importance of spreading knowledge about screening, symptoms, and early diagnosis to all women, particularly those living in middle and developing countries. On this day, oncologists, gynecologists, and other members of the local community (patients, ovarian cancer survivors, or carers) would get up and share their tales on social media platforms, underlying symptoms and the significance of mental strength in facing the disease.
Importance Of World Ovarian Cancer Day
In 2020, ovarian cancer was reported to be the third most frequent gynecological cancer worldwide, with a total of 3,13,959 new cases. It is the eighth leading cause of cancer worldwide, with more than two lakh people dying yearly. Globally, the number of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer and mortality will rise by 42% and 50% by 2040, according to GLOBCAN 2020. The predicted increase in numbers reflects the severity of the problem, which could be attributed to a lack of disease awareness and late detection. The importance of ovarian cancer awareness cannot be overstated. To fill this need, World Ovarian Cancer Day provides a global platform for numerous government and corporate organizations to collaborate on an annual theme to underline the importance of ovarian cancer awareness.
What Is Ovarian Cancer?
The female reproductive system has two ovaries, each walnut-sized, and is responsible for producing eggs and sex hormones. Initially, it is believed that ovarian cancer only begins in the cells of the ovaries. Recent research shows this cancer can also originate in related structures such as fallopian tubes. Besides women, people with ovaries, such as trans men, can also get ovarian cancer. This cancer starts when cells in the ovaries or surrounding structures develop mutations (changes) in their DNA. These cells will multiply in an abnormal and uncontrolled manner, and they can also affect nearby tissues or other parts of the body. Researchers don't know why this happens but have found certain things increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors
Most common risk factors you should know about
- Age above 50
- Family history of this cancer
- Overweight or obese symptoms
- High blood sugar or endometriosis
- Puberty at an early age or late menopause
- Inherited abnormal genes such as BRCA
- HRT (hormonal replacement therapy) to manage menopausal symptoms
- History of breast or bowel cancer or had undergone radiotherapy
Ovarian Cancer Symptoms
In the initial stages, ovarian cancer does not usually cause symptoms; if the symptoms do occur, it is often confused with other less serious illnesses. The symptoms include,
- Abdominal swelling or bloating
- Appetite loss or feeling full immediately after eating
- Needing to urinate more often or urgent need to urinate
- Back pain
- Pain or discomfort in the pelvic area
- Unintentional weight loss
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Vaginal bleeding after menopause
A 2016 study looked at the early symptoms of ovarian cancer and found certain symptoms are more likely to suggest cancer in the ovary. Those symptoms include abdominal or pelvic pain, abdominal mass, abdominal or pelvic bloating, loss of appetite, and abdominal distension or increased girth.
How Is Ovarian Cancer Commonly Treated?
If diagnosed early, ovarian cancer is more treatable, and treatment often involves a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. Depending on the stage of the disorder, a doctor may recommend surgery to remove one or both ovaries and the uterus. In chemotherapy, medicines are used to stop cancer from growing and are usually used after surgery to kill the remaining cancer cells. Other therapies, such as targeted therapy, hormonal therapy, or immunotherapy, may also be used.
Learn, Educate, and Be Aware!
There is no sure way to prevent ovarian cancer, but healthy lifestyle habits such as healthy weight maintenance, exercise, a balanced diet, and quitting alcohol and smoking may help decrease the risk of ovarian cancer. Birth control pills decrease the risk of ovarian cancer. Ask the health care professional if the birth control pills suit you.
Finally, World Ovarian Cancer Day is a significant event that raises awareness of a disease affecting thousands of women worldwide yearly. We can improve outcomes and eventually find a cure for this awful disease if we continue to promote awareness and lobby for additional resources and assistance. We can send a message of hope and unity to ovarian cancer survivors worldwide by joining together on World Ovarian Cancer Day 2023.