With the five-year survival rate of ovarian cancer languishing at just 46 per cent, locals are being encouraged to ovary-act during February's Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
In 2020 more than 1500 Australian women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer and more than 1,000 will die- that's four women diagnosed and three women dying of ovarian cancer every day.
Jane Hill, CEO of Ovarian Cancer Australia, said ovarian cancer has the lowest survival rate of any women's cancer.
"The overall five-year survival rate for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer languishes at just 46 per cent. In comparison, the overall five-year survival rate for women diagnosed with breast cancer is 91 per cent," Ms Hill said.
"If diagnosed in its early stages, women have a 90 per cent chance of being alive and well after five years. Unfortunately, 75 per cent of women are diagnosed at an advanced stage, when the cancer has spread and it is difficult to treat successfully," she said.
Ms Hill said that there is no effective screening program for ovary cancer so the best way of detecting the disease is to know the signs and symptoms.
"The symptoms of ovarian cancer can be vague, similar to other medical conditions and come on either very slowly or rapidly," Ms Hill said.
"Signs and symptoms commonly include abdominal or pelvic pain, increased abdominal size or persistent abdominal bloating, the need to urinate often or urgently, unexplained fatigue, unexplained weight gain or weight loss or feeling full after eating a small amount.
While the cause of ovarian cancer is unknown, we do know that there are some factors that may increase a woman's risk of developing the disease, including increasing age, family history, medical conditions such as endometriosis, use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) smoking tobacco and obesity.Jane Hill
"While the cause of ovarian cancer is unknown, we do know that there are some factors that may increase a woman's risk of developing the disease, including increasing age, family history, medical conditions such as endometriosis, use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) smoking tobacco and obesity," she said.
According to Ms Hill, despite ovarian cancer holding the mantle of being the most deadly women's cancer in Australia, it's also one the most underfunded.
"Expenditure data published by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) reveals that, between 2014 and 2018, ovarian cancer received four times less funding for research than breast cancer and around half that of prostate cancer.
"February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and we are calling on all Australians to ovary-act to raise awareness and funds to help Ovarian Cancer Australia deliver research, awareness and advocacy programs so that we can continue to save lives and support women impacted by this insidious disease.
"Australians can do this by hosting a Paint the Town Teal fundraising event during Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
"Throw an afternoon tea, a long lunch, a golf day or a gala dinner. Anything goes, as long as it's teal, the international colour for ovarian cancer.
"Together, we can change the story of ovarian cancer for future generations," Ms Hill added.
Visit ovariancancer.net.au for more information.
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