September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. And unlike breast cancer, there are no routine screening tests. Each year in the United States, more than 21,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and about 15,000 women die of the disease.One of those diagnosed this year is fellow HCRW and TWRP author Heather McCollum

You can join Heather in her fight against ovarian cancer at

Ovarian cancer is the 5th most common cancer among women.
The cause is unknown.
Some possible risk factors include:
Having no children or few children later in life.
Certain genes defects (BRCA1 and BRCA2) are responsible for a small number of ovarian cancer cases. Women who’ve had breast cancer or a family history of breast or ovarian cancer have an increased risk for ovarian cancer.
Women who take estrogen replacement only (not with progesterone) for 5 years or more seem to have a higher risk of ovarian cancer. Birth control pills, however, decrease the risk of ovarian cancer.(But can increase the risk of breast cancer.)

Older women are at highest risk for developing ovarian cancer. Most deaths from ovarian cancer occur in women age 55 and older but women in their twenties can also get ovarian cancer. It doesn’t discriminate against age.


Ovarian cancer symptoms are not overt. That’s why it is known as the Silent Whisper. Often, the cancer isn’t diagnosed until the cancer has spread beyond the ovaries because the symptoms are missed altogether or miss diagnosed.

See your doctor if you have the following symptoms on a daily basis for more than a few weeks:

  • Bloating- abdominal tightness, enlargement, or consistent tenderness.
  • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly.
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain

Other symptoms can also inclued:

  • Abnormal menstrual cycles
  • Constipation, increased gas, indigestion.
  • Pelvic heaviness
  • Swollen abdomen or belly
  • Unexplained back pain that worsens over time
  • bleeding between periods.
  • lower abdominal discomfort
  • Weight changes

A physical examination may reveal a swollen abdomen and fluid in the abdominal. A pelvic examination may reveal an ovarian mass.
A CA-125 blood test is not a screening test but it can be used if a woman:

  • Has symptoms of ovarian cancer
  • Has already been diagnosed with ovarian cancer to determine how well treatment is working

Other tests that may be done include:

  • Complete blood count and blood chemistry
  • Pregnancy test (serum HCG)
  • CT or MRI of the pelvis or abdomen
  • Ultrasound of the pelvis

Laparoscopic surgery can also be done to evaluate symptoms and take samples for biopsy. There are no lab tests or imaging test that will diagnose ovarian cancer in its early stages.


Surgery removal of the uterus, ovaries, tubes. Or surgical removal of both ovaries and tubes.
Partial or complete removal of the fatty layer that covers the abdomen and it’s organs.
Women who have had there ovaries removed could still get ovarian cancer if ovarian cancer cells are in the omentum (fatty layer) of the abdomen.

  • Examination, biopsy, or removal of the lymph nodes and other tissues in the pelvis and abdomen

Surgery performed by a specialist in female reproductive cancer has been shown to result in a higher success rate.
Chemotherapy treatments are given after surgery and again if the cancer returns. 

For more information on ovarian cancer or to donate, please go to
Another way to support ovarian cancer research and awareness is to read an Avon Book. I don’t write for Avon, but I love some of their authors. Check out there Kiss and Teal link: