6.14.2007

Early Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

Read all about it here ("Symptoms Found for Early Check on Ovary Cancer"), in yesterday's New York Times.
The symptoms to watch out for are bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly and feeling a frequent or urgent need to urinate. A woman who has any of those problems nearly every day for more than two or three weeks is advised to see a gynecologist, especially if the symptoms are new and quite different from her usual state of health.
And:
She emphasized that relatively new and persistent problems were the most important ones. So, the transient bloating that often accompanies menstrual periods would not qualify, nor would a lifelong history of indigestion.
Ovarian cancer is one of those cancers that often isn't discovered until it's already metastasized and it's basically too late. It is also, like breast cancer, one of the kinds of cancer that Ashkenazi women are genetically more susceptible to than other women.

See:
  • In 1995 and 1996, studies of DNA samples revealed that Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jews are 10 times more likely to have mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA 2 genes than the general population. Approximately 2.65 percent of the Ashkenazi Jewish population has a mutation in these genes, while only 0.2 percent of the general population carries these mutations. [source]
  • Whereas the female population-at-large has a lifetime risk of ovarian cancer of 1%, women born with one of these mutations have a lifetime risk of ovarian cancer of 27-44%. [source]
I would not normally go to the UJC for medical data, but I couldn't find a reputable source that would tell me the lifetime risk of ovarian cancer for people with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations.

Take care of yourselves and see a doctor if you don't feel well! (This advice is for myself as well as for all of my readers.)

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