Only 45% of woman diagnosed with ovarian cancer will survive five years post diagnosis.
As one of the most deadliest cancers, each day four Australian women are diagnosed with the disease and three will die.
Despite this statistic it is one of the most underfunded of all women’s cancers.
With the lowest survival rate of any women’s cancer and little improvement in treatment in nearly 50 years, Australians are being encouraged to take ovary-action during February’s Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
“Each day, four Australian women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and three will die – that’s almost 100 women every month,” said Jane Hill, CEO of Ovarian Cancer Australia.
“If found in its early stages, women have an 80% chance of being alive and well after five years. Unfortunately, 75% of women are diagnosed in advanced stages.
“Now is the time for Australians to ovary-act. This disease is taking our mothers, daughters, wives and sisters. It’s not going away,” Ms Hill said.
With no early detection test, a key focus for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month is to educate Australians on the signs, symptoms and risk factors of ovarian cancer to increase chances of survival. Only half of Australians know that ovarian cancer exhibits symptoms.
“There is no early detection test, so we’re calling on all Australians to ovary-act by knowing the signs, symptoms and risk factors of ovarian cancer,” Ms Hill said.
“Symptoms can include abdominal or pelvic pain, increased abdominal size or persistent abdominal bloating, the need to urinate often or urgently and feeling full after eating only a small amount. If these symptoms are new and persistent for women they should visit their doctor without delay.
“Women who may be at higher risk of developing ovarian cancer include those over the age of 50, those who have never had children or had children later in life, those who suffer from endometriosis and those who began puberty early or menopause late,” Ms Hill said.
Ovarian cancer can also occur through a genetic predisposition, the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutation. Of the 1,600 ovarian cancer diagnoses in Australia this year, approximately 17% of these women are thought to carry the BRCA gene mutations.
“The BRCA gene mutations can increase a woman’s lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer from a few per cent in the general population to approximately to 59% for BRCA1 and 17% for BRCA2,” Ms Hill said.
“The BRCA gene mutations can be inherited from either the mother or father’s side, with a 50% chance that an individual with a BRCA mutation passes this on to each of their children.”
For more information on ovarian cancer and the campaign click here.