Did you know that April is “Cancer Control Month”? It’s a good reminder on your calendar that cancer can be controlled (to a point) and also how important taking good care of your health is in preventing cancer from entering your life.
It’s also a time to think about what types of cancer you might be at risk for. If you’re a woman, you might think that breast cancer is your biggest threat when it comes to the “Big C” – and while breast cancer is certainly one to be conscious of, it’s not the only type of female cancer you need to be concerned about.
Ovarian cancer also poses a threat.
According to the American Cancer Society, ovarian cancer accounts for three percent of all cancers among women, and 21,650 new cases will be diagnosed in 2008. The average woman’s risk of diagnosis is about 1 in 71, and two-thirds of the cases occur in women who are 55 and older.
But like breast cancer, there are ways to both prevent and treat ovarian cancer – including some all-natural methods. Let’s take a closer look at ovarian cancer . . .
Ovarian Cancer Basics
Ovarian cancer forms when abnormal cell growth occurs in the tissues of the ovaries, the female reproductive glands. It can happen to any woman regardless of health history, but genetics and habits such as smoking may contribute to an increased likelihood of developing the disease. African-American women also have a slightly increased risk compared to Caucasian women.
There may be no obvious symptoms, which commonly means that it is caught in the late stages when it is more difficult to treat. But women who develop ovarian cancer often experience irregular vaginal bleeding, feelings of bloating or thickening in the abdominal area, weight loss, and pain.
While there’s no way to guarantee that you won’t get ovarian cancer in your lifetime, certain lifestyle and dietary changes can help. Smoking, for example, is linked to the development of a wide variety of cancers, including ovarian cancer, so breaking the habit is key.
According to research published in the medical journal The Lancet, women with a history of having taken oral contraceptives (birth control pills) were 27 percent less likely to develop ovarian cancer than women who did not. The benefits seemed to take effect even on women who hadn’t taken the pill in decades.
Two herbal supplements have shown exceptional promise in reducing ovarian cancer. Laboratory studies at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center revealed that ginger powder killed ovarian cancer cells, and research at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that the taking of Ginkgo biloba supplements for at least six months lowered the risk of ovarian cancer by 60 percent.
Perhaps the most important step you can take in preventing ovarian cancer is to be aware it exists as a threat, and continue to make good choices when it comes to your health and lifestyle. That combined with the information above will help you make every month “cancer control month.”