The Reason You're Seeing Teal Ribbons in September
Happy September! Or should we say TEALtember? If you’ve seen anyone around wearing a teal ribbon it’s to raise awareness about Ovarian Cancer.
Did you know September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month? What a topic to start the month, right? While talking about cancer is one that can bring up a lot of uncomfortable emotions, it is necessary.
Our goal is to always keep you as healthy and informed as you can be. The bad news about ovarian cancer is that it’s sneaky. It can often go undetected which gives it the nickname ‘The Silent Killer’. 22,000 women are diagnosed every year and another 14,000 will die from it.
Of course, all is not lost. There are steps you can take to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy.
Prevention is the key to stopping this cancer before it becomes anything serious. If detected early, it has a high rate of survival. So take the following list to heart. Tell those close to you to do the same. We’re all in this together and the information below could save a life.
Know Your Risk
Ovarian cancer is most common when you’re older. It’s rare in women younger than 40. If you’re between the ages of 55 - 64, consider asking your doctor for screenings. Your risk increases as well if ovarian, breast, or colorectal cancers run in your family - maternal or paternal side. If you’re unsure, make sure to ask your family members if they know of anyone in your family has experienced any of these cancers.
Why are you at risk if these other types of cancers are in your family, you may wonder? According to cancer.org: â€œThis is because these cancers can be caused by an inherited mutation (change) in certain genes that cause a family cancer syndrome that increases the risk of ovarian cancer.”
You’re also at risk if you:
- Are overweight
- Had your first full-term pregnancy after 35 or never successfully carried
- Took hormone therapy after menopause
- Had breast cancer
Race is also a factor. If you’re white, you’re the most likely to have ovarian cancer. However, Black women are more likely to die from ovarian cancer due to lack of access to health care and socioeconomic disparities.
Know the Symptoms
While ovarian cancer can be asymptomatic, if early symptoms do appear, they can seem harmless. Pay attention if you frequently experience any of the following:
- Abdominal bloating
- Quickly feeling full when eating
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge
- Weight loss
- Frequent need to urinate
While these symptoms may not be indicative of ovarian cancer, it’s still a good idea to make an appointment with a gyno or your doctor. They can rule out any cancers and see if what you're facing could be some other underlying issue.
See Your Gyno
If you suspect that anything feels off about your health, it’s always a good idea to make an appointment with a provider as soon as you can. Making a habit of having yearly wellness checks is the best way you can stay on top of your health.
If you’re worried about being at risk for ovarian cancer, make sure to tell your gyno. A regular pap exam only checks for cervical cancer.
With the advance of medical technology, the methods of screening are simple. Ovarian cancer can be detected through a blood test. The other method is through TVUS (transvaginal ultrasound) - an ultrasound wand inserted vaginally that uses soundwaves to look at the fallopian tubes, uterus, and ovaries.
Show Your Support
For the rest of September, let’s make an effort to spread the word about ovarian cancer. Pass this article around to your family, your school, or even your workplace.
The more people that know about ovarian cancer, the more lives we can save. Take this month to check in with your own health, and support survivors. Wear a teal ribbon that’s visible for all to see - whether that’s on your person or near your home. If you’re able, make a donation to a good cause.
How do you plan on showing support this month? If you know of any other organizations that work towards ovarian cancer prevention, treatment, and awareness tell us about them in the comments.