1. Did you know that ovarian cancer has the lowest survival rate of any women’s cancer and has a five-year survival rate well below the average for all cancers 2. In Australia, the overall five-year survival rate for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer is 43%. In comparison, the overall five-year survival rate for women diagnosed with breast cancer is 89% 3. Each year 1400 Australian women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and more than 1000 will die from the disease – that’s one woman every 8 hours! 4. Each day in Australia, four women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and three will die from the disease. 5. If diagnosed early, the majority of women can survive. Unfortunately, most women are diagnosed with advanced stages of the disease. 6. Ovarian cancer most commonly affects women aged over 50 who have been through menopause; however the disease can affect women of all ages. 7. There is no early detection test for ovarian cancer so the best way of detecting the disease is to know and recognise the symptoms which most commonly include: abdominal or pelvic pain, increased abdominal size or persistent abdominal bloating, the need to urinate often or urgently, or feeling full after eating a small amount. 8. Latest research shows that ovarian cancer is not just one disease but a collection of diseases with different characteristics and molecular structures. It is this knowledge that has required a major rethink in the way ovarian cancer is researched and funded. 9. Ovarian Cancer Australia has just launched a National Action Plan for ovarian cancer research setting out urgent priorities for research in Australia in order to make a significant change in the number of women dying from the disease. 10. There has been no significant change in treatment options for women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer since the 1970s. The National Action Plan is the first step in changing this story. 11. Genetics and family history are responsible for at least 15% of ovarian cancers. If a woman has two or more relatives from the same side of the family affected by ovarian or ovarian and breast cancer her risk of developing the disease may be increased. This tends to be a result of an inherited faulty gene (BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation) that increases a woman’s risk of developing both cancers. 12. Other risk factors women should be aware of include: being over 50 years of age; never having children, being unable to have children, or having children after 30; never having used oral contraceptives; having endometriosis; lifestyle factors: such as smoking tobacco, being overweight or eating a high fat diet; and hormonal factors: including early puberty (menstruating before 12) or late menopause (onset after 50 years of age).]]>
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