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Your Healthy Family: Warning signs and risks of ovarian cancer - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Your Healthy Family: Warning signs and risks of ovarian cancer

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Ovarian cancer will strike approximately 330 women in CO this year Ovarian cancer will strike approximately 330 women in CO this year
COLORADO SPRINGS -

September is ovarian cancer awareness month and today, Friday September 1st is wear teal day to promote awareness of this silent killer.  The CDC estimates that in 2017 about 22,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the United States, and just over 14,000 will not survive it.  Signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer can be subtle and hard to nail down until the cancer has progressed significantly.

Dr.Uchenna Njiaju, a Hematologist and Oncologist with UCHealth Memorial hospital says, "There are symptoms that can manifest, and they are family nonspecific.  Like bloating, feeling full early, pelvic pain, bleeding, urinary symptoms such as wanting to go frequently or a change in stool habits.  The main thing is these can happen on and off and these are fairly non specific symptoms, but if it's a persistent pattern, and not going away or are more severe than usual than one should get that evaluated."

Dr. Njiaju says the groups at highest risk are those who are generally over the age of 40.  "Cancer of the ovaries is seen more as people get older.  It's very rare before 40, and exceedingly rare before 30.  Other factors placing someone at risk have to do with how many times a woman ovulates in the lifetime.  So a woman who starts her period early in life and ends late may have a slightly higher risk.  Other general risks factors can be not have pregnancies,  infertility has an association but it's not well understood.  There are certain conditions that may be related to the ovaries and the pelvis like endometriosis that may also have a bearing on risk."

Valerie Lucero struggled with what she and doctors thought with bowel syndrome for about 5 years.  Valerie says, “It was misdiagnosed for years, the emergency room and doctors all thought I had IBS, because of the symptoms.”

Valerie says when the diagnosis was finally made it hit Valerie like a ton of bricks  “It was pretty hard at first, I was scared and just afraid to die.”

In our next Your Healthy Family story we'll share more of Valerie's story how she's dealing with her diagnosis and what she wants other women to know.  We’ll also talk about the things doctors say you can do to help decrease your chances of ovarian cancer.

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