6 Myths About Ovarian Cancer Debunked

Misconceptions exist about many rare diseases. In fact, the efforts of many advocates are focused on education and dispelling these myths. Recently, an article in the Hindustan Times did just this and debunked six common myths surrounding ovarian cancer.

About Ovarian Cancer

Let’s start with the education portion and gain a better understanding of what ovarian cancer is. As the name suggests, ovarian cancer forms in the ovaries, two organs besides the uterus that store eggs and produce hormones. There are four forms of this cancer: small cell carcinoma of the ovary (SCCO), germ cell carcinoma tumors, epithelial tumors, and stromal carcinoma tumors. While all of these types differ slightly in the symptoms they cause, common effects include abdominal swelling, loss of appetite, bloating, urinary symptoms, and pelvic pain. Medical professionals are unsure as to what exactly causes this cancer and the accompanying symptoms, but they have identified a mutated gene that raises one’s chance of developing ovarian cancer: the BRCA gene.

Surgical removal of the Fallopian tubes, ovaries, omentum, uterus, and nearby lymph nodes is the major form of treatment for this cancer. In some cases, doctors only have to remove one ovary and Fallopian tube. Other treatment options include chemotherapy, medications, and radiation therapy.

Debunked Myths

Beyond just debunking myths, this information stands to help people better recognize and seek help for ovarian cancer. It can aid in the diagnostic process by helping to catch cancer early, which goes on to lead to better outcomes.

Myth #1: Ovarian Cancer Has No Risk Factors

This statement is completely false. A family history of ovarian cancer translates to a higher likelihood of developing it. So if you know that a member of your family has been impacted by ovarian cancer, it’s important to receive regular check-ups, let your doctor know, and undergo any necessary screening.

Myth #2: Young People Are Unaffected

In some cases, youth can make us feel indestructible. However, this should not be the case with ovarian cancer. While those of older age are most commonly affected, women of any age can develop this cancer. Women between the years of 30 and 40 years old should be aware and on top of their health just as much as those in the higher risk age groups.

Myth #3: A Pap Smear Detects Ovarian Cancer

In the cases of other diseases, such as cervical cancer, regular Pap smears are a fantastic way to catch them early. Unfortunately, this is not the case with ovarian cancer; there is no test that can detect it when it’s in its earlier stages. Instead, stay aware of your overall health, know the characteristic symptoms, and communicate with your doctor.

Myth #4: Ovarian Cancer is Asymptomatic in the Earliest Stages

Contrary to popular belief, symptoms do appear in the beginning stages of ovarian cancer. Things like gastrointestinal distress, pain during sex, menstrual issues, bloating, rapid weight loss with no obvious cause, and other symptoms may all present during the earlier stages. The issue is that an affected individual may dismiss them as an unrelated problem, or doctors may misdiagnose the patient. Because of this, it’s important to pay attention to your body and bring any possible issues to your doctor. And remember, you know your body better than anyone.

Myth #5: Ovarian Cancer is Untreatable

With advances in the understanding, diagnostics, and treatments of ovarian cancer, there is no reason to think of a diagnosis as a death wish. Doctors are able to treat this cancer, even in its advanced stages. So while a diagnosis can be devastating, there is no reason to lose hope.

Myth #6: Ovarian Cancer Cannot Be Prevented

While there is no foolproof way to prevent ovarian cancer, there are plenty of things that can be done to lessen the chances. Lifestyle changes are the best way to do so:

  • Eat a healthy diet
    • Lots of fruits, veggies, legumes, whole grains, and pulses
    • Little to no junk, processed, and oily foods
  • Maintain a regular exercise schedule along with a healthy weight
  • Track your Vitamin D levels to ensure they’re normal

Looking Forward

It’s important to disprove false information and myths, especially when it comes to rare diseases. More knowledge and fewer misconceptions can help with earlier diagnosis, which is extremely helpful in achieving better outcomes.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email