(BlackDoctor.org) — Ovarian cancer is a serious and under-recognized threat to women’s health. Though it is more prevalent in white women, African American women are more likely to die from it than any other race. Currently, 50% of the women diagnosed with ovarian cancer die from it within five years; among African American women, only 46% survive five years or more.
What you need to know
- 90% of women are able to be cured because of earlier detection.
- Many women diagnosed with this form of cancer do not have regular symptoms.
- Ovarian cancer is treated through the combination of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.
- African American women are least likely to undergo genetic counseling, even though it is highly recommended.
- Regular pelvic exams are strongly encouraged for early detection.
- 75% of cases will spread to abdominal area by the time it is detected.
5 Ways To Prevent Ovarian Cancer
1. Go on the Pill
Researchers estimate that taking birth-control pills can cut your risk of developing ovarian cancer by as much as 50 percent. The longer you take the pill, the more your risk is reduced. Studies show that the greatest preventative effects are attained after oral contraceptives have been used continually for five years or more. However, you should remember that certain genetic mutations combined with the use of oral contraceptives may mean an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Women with the BRCA mutation should understand the breast-cancer risks associated with long-term use of birth-control pills.
2. Work out, Eat Right, Reduce Risk
If you eat a lot of fiber, limit intake of fats and meats and alcohol intake, you’re on the right track. You should also exercise to achieve and maintain a healthy body-mass index. Studies show that exercising at least three times a week can help prevent ovarian cancer.