September Puts the Spotlight on Ovarian Cancer Awareness

National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month in September turns attention to the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths among American women.

Ovarian cancer begins in the ovaries, commonly starting in the tissue covering the reproductive organ (epithelial cancer) or, less common, beginning in the egg cells ( ovarian germ cell tumor). Ovarian, fallopian tube and primary peritoneal cancers, often found at advanced stages, are the fifth leading cause of cancer death in women in the U.S.

This year in the United States, 22,440 women will be newly diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and about 14,080 will die from the disease, the American Cancer Society estimates.

The National Ovarian Cancer Awareness movement’s teal calling color is on track to become as publicly identifiable with the cause as the pink hue that signals breast cancer awareness. That’s especially true in Jackson, Mississippi — location for the Newk’s Eatery headquarters, where the disease hits close to home. Lori Newcomb, wife of co-founder and CEO Chris Newcomb, was diagnosed in 2013, and co-founded Newk’s Cares, raising money (more than $500,000 to date) for ovarian cancer research since 2014 and boosting awareness about the disease and early symptoms.

A Sept. 21 Ovarian Cycle Jackson indoor cycling event in Ridgeland targets an additional $175,000. Research supported by Ovarian Cycle Jackson aims to understand how chemotherapy, which typically follows surgery in ovarian cancer treatment, will affect patients’ immune cells.

 

PAY ATTENTION TO PERSISTENT SYMPTOMS

Heightened awareness of ovarian cancer is vital. Part of the reason it’s often found at advanced stages is because there may be no early signs or symptoms, and there are no good screening tests.

What symptoms do appear may be attributed to other ailments. Symptoms traditionally associated with ovarian cancer are vague and may not seem connected — back pain, pelvic pain, low abdominal pressure, pelvic pressure, urinary urgency or frequency, symptoms associated with a bladder infection, bowel infection or irritable bowel syndrome, trouble with constipation, nausea and vomiting.

It can be a challenge to diagnose ovarian cancer, too, because the most of the symptoms are the same symptoms women have throughout life (and men, too). Bloating, early satiety where you feel full faster, a bit of increase in abdominal girth — those things can happen with regular illnesses, with viral illnesses and with a cold, so they’re hard to distinguish. The important part is, those symptoms are not going to go away and you need to be persistent in follow-up. Some symptoms may not feel related, but the persistence of seeking the care helps to get the diagnosis.

Knowing and being in tune with your body, and being mindful of what symptoms are normal for you, is key. As ovarian cancer survivors will stress, any time you have a sense that something strange is going on with your body, you need to get it checked out.

Risk factors associated with ovarian cancer include: age (incidence rises with age, and the majority of women diagnosed are postmenopausal); genetics (increased risk with a family history of ovarian cancer); ethnicity (highest among white women in Europe and North America); diet (highest in affluent societies with diets high in fat); reproductive history (greater for women who have no or few children or who’ve delayed childbearing to after age 35; birth control pills (lower risk); talcum powder and asbestos (increased risk with habitual use in genital area, and higher rates in women whose jobs expose them to asbestos); other cancers (increased risk with a history of breast or endometrial cancer).

Treatment for ovarian cancer typically involves surgical therapy, which typically involves a hysterectomy. And while the majority of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are postmenopausal, some patients are diagnosed earlier and the hysterectomy can lead to surgically-induced menopause. Main treatments also can include chemotherapy, radiation and more.

Gyn Cancer Support group at St. Dominic Hospital, open to all survivors, current patients, family and friends, provides a space for sharing, encouragement and discussion. Soon, a mentorship program, matching a survivor or patient a year or more out from diagnosis, with someone newly diagnosed, can provide additional support and encouragement.

 

BETTER, LONGER LIVES

With better medicines, better understanding of how to use those medicines, and effective support therapies, women with ovarian cancer are able to live longer and more productive lives, and with a better quality of life than in times past.

Along with the rejoicing and relief that greet the end of treatment, maximizing that quality of life can become even more keen after such a scare.

Issues that can become barriers to reclaiming your best self — vaginal dryness, discomfort and painful intercourse that come with menopause, loss of estrogen and more — need not become part of your “new normal.” Those conditions can be particularly troubling for younger cancer survivors longing to closely connect with their partners, in a loving, confident and comfortable way. If you can’t take hormones, you’re left with topical treatments, lubricants and moisturizers. For some, that may be good enough but for others, that falls far short of satisfaction.

Don’t suffer in silence and don’t be reluctant to address this intimate topic, especially since innovative technologies and therapies are available that can help.

 

V-REVIVE THERAPIES

In Jackson, Mississippi, V-REVIVE  — a natural outgrowth of Dr. Robert Harris’s nearly 20-year urogynecology practice, Southeast Urogyn — treats these conditions with a suite of non-surgical vaginal revitalization therapies in a relaxed and professional setting.

In the spa-like clinic, these vaginal issues are easier to discuss and address with knowledgeable and experienced V-REVIVE Specialists, nurses certified and highly trained using specific protocols by board-certified specialists in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery.

V-REVIVE’s mission is help women at ever stage of life, to find relief and improve sexual health and quality of life. Non-surgical, in-office treatments require no anesthesia, down time or recovery.

Therapy options include the COlaser therapy used with MonaLisa Touch® and CO2RE®Intima, treating vaginal dryness, discomfort and irritation. A slim intravaginal wand applies the treatment, which feels akin to a vibration inside the vagina. Micro injuries to the vaginal walls stimulate collagen for repair, renewing vaginal moisture. For best results, a three-treatment package, four to six-weeks in-between, is recommended with an additional annual treatment to maintain moisture and function.

V-REVIVE’s suite of available therapies also include ThermiVa®, which uses radio frequency energy to gentle heat the tissue inside and outside the vulva to improve appearance, tightness and sensation, and the O-Shot® which uses PRP (platelet-rich plasma) from your own blood to enhance sexual response.

 

PERSONALIZED APPROACH

Your particular situation and symptoms may be best addressed with a combination of treatments. Talk to V-REVIVE Specialists about your desires and goals to find an optimal, personalized approach to treat your unique concerns.

Schedule a free phone consultation or call 844-487-3848 to learn more about V-REVIVE’s services and the possibilities and promise of a return to feminine comfort and confidence, and a rejuvenated path forward.

A range of payment options are available, including all major credit cards, and 6-month, 12-month or 18-month interest-free plans through the convenient CareCredit card.

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