Women are notorious for taking care of others but often neglecting to take the time to take care of their own health. About one in every 57 women in the United States will develop ovarian cancer, which causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. Most cases of ovarian cancer occur in women older than 50, but it can also affect younger women.
You cannot control some things that put you at risk for ovarian cancer, such as your family history or inheriting gene changes. But you can make some personal choices that lower your risk of cancer and other diseases.
According to the American Cancer Society, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be one way to help reduce your risk for ovarian cancer. Try to incorporate the following:
Exercise. Thirty minutes of moderate physical activity each day can help control cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and blood pressure.
Eat healthfully. Pay attention to the food groups - include plenty of whole grains, fruit and vegetables and avoid excess saturated fats, trans fats, sodium and sugar.
Keep a healthy weight. Staying within the healthy weight range for your height reduces your risk for high cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and stroke.
Quit smoking. As with other cancers, smoking greatly increases your risk for ovarian cancer.
Go to the doctor regularly. Most women should have an annual exam, including a pelvic exam and Pap test, annually.
See your doctor right away if you notice:
- Pelvic, lower abdominal or back pain
- Vaginal bleeding or abnormal menstruation
- Weight gain or loss, bloating
- Lack of appetite, indigestion, gas, nausea or vomiting
To find a physician, contact Adventist Health at www.adventisthealthnw.com or call 503-256-4000