We all know that cancer devastates the lives of so many people. It affects adults, children, fit people and the elderly, and it changes lives forever. It occurs in all parts of the body, and often goes undetected, or has few indicators of its presence.
In Australia, February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, a time to highlight this disease which takes the lives of around 3 women each day. This month is a timely reminder to be aware of the often undetectable signs, to educate yourself and others about the causes, share stories that inspire, and to support treatment and research.
Ovarian cancer has the lowest survival rate of any women’s cancer, and with no early detection test, it is vital that women are aware of the symptoms. These can include:
- Abdominal bloating and persistent pelvic pain
- A frequent need to urinate, or a need to urinate urgently, or
- A full feeling after eating only a small amount
Anyone who is experiencing these symptoms, or has concerns, should follow up with their doctor as soon as possible.
Did you know that your genetics and family history play a part in whether or not you are at risk of developing ovarian cancer? According to Ovarian Cancer Australia, up to 17% of incidences of ovarian cancer are due to genetic factors.
If a woman has two or more relatives from the same side of the family affected by ovarian or breast cancer, her risk of developing the disease may be increased. This tends to be a result of an inherited faulty gene (BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation) that increases a woman’s risk of developing both ovarian and breast cancers.
One way to discover your predisposition is to undertake GTL’s Inherited Cancer Panel, to confirm if you carry the specific gene mutations that may be responsible for a range of cancers, including ovarian cancer. The test is as simple as getting a medical blood draw, from which your unique DNA is extracted and analysed. When you receive your results, they will reveal your genetic predisposition to a number of hereditary cancers, including ovarian, prostate, colorectal, and some skin cancers.
Teal Ribbon Day falls during Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, on 26 February. There are four simple ways that you can support Teal Ribbon Day:
- Buy a teal ribbon from Ovarian Cancer Australia
- Paint the Town Teal: host a fundraising event with a teal theme. Wear teal, bake some teal-hued cupcakes, and decorate your workplace. Have a gold coin donation box for those who join you for tea!
- Make a donation
- Start the conversation: talk to friends, family and colleagues about the importance of being aware of the signs to look out for.
GTL is a proud advocate of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and Teal Ribbon Day.
Let’s all get the feel for teal this February!