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Community Health: Education, Prevention and Inspiration

Empowering people to make healthy, respectful and responsible choices.

Ovarian Cancer....Not the Silent Killer It Was Once Thought To Be

Posted by Tammi A. Tannura -

Yes, ovarian cancer does have symptoms. While the symptoms are similar to many digestive disorders, they are also symptoms of ovarian cancer. Symptoms include feeling bloated, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating, feeling full quickly, and an urgent need to urinate or an increase in urinary frequency.

Given there is no diagnostic tool for ovarian cancer, the recognition of the signs and symptoms are extremely important in terms of early diagnosis. Women should see their gynecologist if symptoms are experienced more than 12 times during the course of 30 days, and the symptoms are new or unusual.

Five to ten percent of all ovarian cancers are due to an inherited genetic mutation in one of two genes: BRCA1 and BRAC2. As these genes are linked to both breast and ovarian cancer, women who have had breast cancer are at an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Other risk factors include increasing age, reproductive history and infertility, hormone replacement therapy, and obesity.

All women are at risk because ovarian cancer does not strike only one ethnic or age group. While there is no prevention method for the disease, women can reduce the risk of developing ovarian cancer by taking oral contraceptives for at least five years and breastfeeding.

September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. Check out the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance website to learn more during the "30 Days of Teal".

This blog post was written by Michele Crawford, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health practicum student with the community health team of University of Illinois Extension in Cook County.



Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. (2013). About Ovarian Cancer. Retrieved from

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