Historically ovarian cancer was called the “silent killer” because symptoms were not thought to develop until the cancer had spread. However, recent studies have shown this term is untrue and that the following symptoms are much more likely to occur in women with ovarian cancer than women in the general population. These symptoms include:
These symptoms are relatively common in women and are often associated with a number of different health problems, from irritable bowel syndrome to urinary tract infections. Several other symptoms have been commonly reported by women with ovarian cancer. These symptoms include:
However, these other symptoms are not as useful in identifying ovarian cancer because they are also found in equal frequency in women in the general population who do not have ovarian cancer.
Like any cancer, why one woman gets ovarian cancer and another does not remains a mystery. However, women are at risk if they have any of the following:
The overwhelming majority of women who get ovarian cancer have no known risk factors.
If ovarian cancer is suspected, it is crucial to see a gynecologic oncologist who specializes in women’s cancers. Prompt medical evaluation may lead to detection at the earliest possible stage of the disease. Early stage diagnosis is associated with an improved prognosis.
OVA1 is an FDA cleared blood test that can help a physician evaluate an ovarian mass for the risk of malignancy prior to a planned surgery. Women with a higher risk may benefit from being referred to gynecologic oncologist for surgery and following treatment. OVA1 is indicated for women over the age of 18, with an ovarian mass who have not been referred to a specialist. It is not intended to be a screening test or to determine whether a patient should proceed to surgery. For more information please visit www.ova-1.com
On March 3, 2018, the Norma Livingston Ovarian Cancer Foundation presented a check for $100,000 to fund a Research Fund Account at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Division of Gynecologic Oncology.
These funds will be utilized for one $100,000 investigator to conduct ovarian cancer research. Project proposals will be reviewed by a committee headed by the Dr. Warner Huh. Updates on the funded project will be posted.
Over the past 12 years, the NLOCF has funded over $1,4000,000 in ovarian cancer research. Over the past 3 years, our funds have supported Dr. Rebecca Arend’s research pertaining to why women with ovarian cancer become resistant to chemotherapy, why they recur, and how the medical profession can prevent this from happening. Advances in surgery and chemotherapy have improved patient responses and increased their time in remission, but cure rates have not significantly changed in the last 20 years and the majority of patients eventually recur.
Funds over the past 3 years have also funded the NORMA LIVINGSTON OVARIAN CANCER FOUNDATION TELEMEDICINE GENETICS CLINIC. This innovative pilot program will help reduce the risk of women getting ovarian cancer by offering genetic testing and counseling services to women with a personal or family history of ovarian, breast cancer, and endometrial cancer. A key component of this service is expert genetic counseling from an experienced, trained genetic counselor, especially one with experience in hereditary cancers. Access to this type of service can sometimes be difficult due to travel, work, and personal constraints. Through the NLOCF Telemedicine Genetics Clinic more women will have access to this service. Theoretically, this clinic has the benefit of providing access to the entire State of Alabama, the Southeast region, and certain, under-served pockets in the United States.