The Richmond Register

December 12, 2012

Understanding your risks for ovarian cancer

UK Cooperative Extension agent for Family & Consumer sciences

By Gina Noe
Register Correspondent

MADISON COUNTY — Ovarian cancer is often considered a silent killer, because many times, women do not know they have it until it is too late.

Ovarian cancer accounts for 3 percent of all cancers diagnosed in women and is the deadliest gynecological cancer.

This year, the American Cancer Society estimates that doctors will diagnose more than 22,000 cases of ovarian cancer in the United State, and 15,500 American women will die of the disease.

Fortunately, when found in the early stages, treatment can be effective and chances for recovery are improved. Knowing the risk factors, signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer can help you protect your loved ones and yourself.

Women with an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer include those over 50 years old, a family history of ovarian, being diagnosed with breast, uterine or colon cancer, no children or trouble conceiving.

Since ovarian cancer symptoms are similar to the symptoms for many different diseases, you should pay close attention to your body. If you began experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms for longer than two weeks, you should talk with your doctor about possible causes.

· Pain below your stomach and/or between your hips

· Back pain

· Being constantly tired

· Bloating

· Difficulty eating or always feeling full

· Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge

Since 1977, the Kentucky Extension Homemakers Association has raised funds for ovarian cancer research at the University of Kentucky. The program was started by Virginia McCandless, an officer in the association who lost her fight with ovarian cancer. To date, Extension Homemakers have raised nearly $1.2 million.

Money raised by Extension Homemakers also help fund a free ovarian cancer screening program at UK. Women over 50 or 25 with a family history of ovarian cancer can participate. For more information, visit UK’s Ovarian Cancer Screening Program website at

In Madison County, Extension Homemakers raise funds for ovarian cancer programs by donating at least $1 per member and the proceeds from the Annual Extension Homemaker Cooking School.

For more information about ovarian cancer or how to donate to the UK Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, contact the Madison County office of the UK Cooperative Extension Service, 623-4072.

(Sources: Ingrid Adams, UK assistant extension professor for nutrition and weight management, and Kim Henken, assistant to the director of UK’s School of Human Environmental Sciences)

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.