By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

"STRONGER TOGETHER" IS A WEEKLY COLUMN WHERE TANYA EXPLORES KEY ISSUES. TODAY TANYA TALKS ABOUT THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF OVARIAN CANCER.

Many of us strive to live a healthy lifestyle, but sometimes unexpected health implications can throw a spin on day-to-day life.

That’s why being in tune with your body and completing regular health checks is so important.

Each year in Australia over 1500 women will be diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer.

Over 1000 will die.

Only 46% of women diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer will meet the 5-year survival rate.

February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month which provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the most underfunded and deadliest female cancer in Australia.

Awareness of this form of cancer is vitally important as there is no early detection test.

Commonly women may feel increased abdominal size or persistent bloating, lower tummy pain, feeling full after eating small amounts and needing to pass fluids often or urgently.

Some women may also experience changes in bowel habits, unexplained weight changes, excessive fatigue, indigestion, nausea, or irregular bleeding.

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Often these symptoms can indicate other less serious medical conditions, however if these symptoms are persistent, a doctor should be consulted.

It’s a good idea to track any symptoms you are experiencing as they can be discussed with a doctor in need.

If, however, you remain concerned about your symptoms you should always seek a second opinion.

As a woman it is important to trust your instincts and listen to your body.

The risk of developing Ovarian Cancer increases with a family history of Ovarian, Breast or Bowel Cancer, mutant genes, Lynch Syndrome and endometriosis, so knowledge of not only your own history but that of your family is also important. 

Increasing age, use of Hormone replacement Therapy, tobacco smoking and obesity also increase a woman’s risk of developing Ovarian Cancer.

Our IMPACT Community Health Services in Agnes Water provides visiting Women’s Health services to the Discovery Coast Region.

Everyone experiences a health concern at one point or another, and it’s important that we normalise the discussion of it.

Start the conversation today – it could save a life.

For more information on Women’s Health services in the Discovery Coast, or to make an appointment, I encourage women to call our friendly staff on 07) 4902 2000.

Learn more about IMPACT's Community Health Service