In recent years, each September, Bristol, CT, the home of Beekley Medical, and my home town’s greens, businesses and other landmarks, have been adorned with teal bows to heighten awareness to a cancer that accounts for about 3% of cancers among women, but causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system because the symptoms are very subtle and can often be SILENT!
The campaign, known as Turn the Towns Teal, is very very critical in fighting the disease of Ovarian Cancer because there is NO early detection test.
It’s unlikely you’ll see a popular yogurt brand turning their seals teal and pledging a percentage of their sales to Ovarian Cancer Awareness or that you’ll see your favorite NFL team wearing teal helmets. You probably don’t hear much talk around efforts to raise funds for education and research of Ovarian Cancer either, so there’s work to be done.
Ovarian Cancer begins in the ovaries, which are the reproductive glands found only in females.
The ovaries are made up of 3 main kinds of cells. Each type of cell can develop into a different type of tumor:
- Epithelial tumors start from the cells that cover the outer surface of the ovary. Most ovarian tumors are epithelial cell tumors.
- Germ cell tumors start from the cells that produce the eggs (ova).
- Stromal tumors start from structural tissue cells that hold the ovary together and produce the female hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Most of these tumors are benign (non-cancerous) and never spread beyond the ovary. Benign tumors can be treated by removing either the ovary or the part of the ovary that contains the tumor.
Malignant (cancerous) or low malignant potential ovarian tumors can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body and can be fatal.
Ovarian cancer may cause several signs and symptoms. Women are more likely to have symptoms if the disease has spread beyond the ovaries, but even early- stage ovarian cancer can cause them.
The most common symptoms include:
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
- Urinary symptoms such as urgency (always feeling like you have to go or having to go often)
These symptoms are also commonly caused by benign (non-cancerous) diseases and by cancers of other organs. When they are caused by ovarian cancer, they tend to be persistent and represent a change from normal − for example, they occur more often or are more severe. If a woman has these symptoms more than 12 times a month, she should see her doctor, preferably a gynecologist.
Other symptoms of Ovarian cancer include: fatigue, upset stomach, back pain, pain during sex, constipation, menstrual changes, abdominal swelling with weight loss, however these symptoms are more likely to be caused by other conditions, and most of them occur just about as often in women who don't have Ovarian cancer.
So before you ‘Pink’, get your Teal on!