There are many factors that contribute to why ovarian cancer is detected at later stages. Leslie R. Boyd, MD, director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, part of NYU Langone’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Perlmutter Cancer Center, shares what to know about spotting ovarian cancer as early as possible.
“There’s a lot of room in the abdomen for the ovary to grow” when a cancerous tumor forms on it, says Dr. Boyd. “So usually stage I ovarian cancer is a fairly silent disease.” Talk to your primary care doctor or gynecologist if you have any irregular bloating, pain in your belly or pelvis, feel full quickly when you eat, and have an urgent need to urinate, especially if these symptoms are new and don’t go away, she explains.
A number of things increase the odds of getting ovarian cancer, like growing older. Dr. Boyd says two key things put you at high risk of getting the disease though: your close family’s medical history and certain gene changes, or “mutations.”
“It’s always a good idea to maintain a relationship with your gynecologist throughout life stages. And certainly in the post-menopause, you’re at highest risk of developing the most common gynecologic cancers,” says Dr. Boyd.
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