A silent killer: 5 things all women should know about ovarian cancer

DURHAM (WTVD) -- Saturday morning, a large group of people took part in the Gail Parkins Memorial Ovarian Cancer Walk and 5K.

ABC11 is partnering with organizers to spread awareness about ovarian cancer.

PHOTOS: Ovarian Cancer Walk and 5K Run

In marking Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, a professor and practicing gynecologic-oncologist at Duke, Dr. Angeles Secord, helped us put together some information that all women should know concerning this deadly disease.

1.) Ovarian Cancer is considered somewhat "rare" compared to other cancers.

Only 1 in 70 women will get it, as opposed to 1 in 3 women developing heart disease or 1 in 8 women being diagnosed with breast cancer.

2.) Certain women are at an increased risk. That includes:

  • Women who are older

  • Women with a family history of breast cancer under the age of 50 (there is a direct correlation)

  • A family history of ovarian cancer

  • Women with a mutation in certain genes such as BCR1 or 2.

3.) Symptoms are subtle and can include:

  • Bloating

  • Pelvic or abdominal pain

  • Feeling full easily

  • Indigestion

  • Urinary urgency/Increased frequency

4.) When to get checked out:

If you suddenly start experiencing these symptoms (and they're new) and they last every day for 2-3 weeks.

5.) Why it pays to know your family history and listen to your body:

According to Dr. Secord, "If somebody is diagnosed with stage one ovarian cancer their prognosis can be very good, with five-year survival rates of over 90 percent. But those patients diagnosed with stage three or stage four disease or more advanced stages, their prognosis is not as good."

"So we really want to try to diagnose this disease early."

Dr. Secord said typically there are 2 different strategies for treating Ovarian Cancer, one is surgery and the other is radiation.

For more info on the Duke Cancer Institute: http://www.dukecancerinstitute.org/

To support Ovarian Cancer Awareness, check out this event next weekend in Roxboro : http://www.movingitformorton.com/

For more on an ABC11 sponsored event from today: http://www.ovarianawareness.org/Home.aspx#.VfQ9yGnD-JA
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