The Woodward News

Local News

June 24, 2012

Healthy Woman event offers health tips, program on ovarian cancer

Woodward, Okla. — Local women turned out to be pampered and listen to some health tips at Woodward Regional Hospital during a Healthy Woman event Thursday night.

During the first half of the event, some women enjoyed free massages offered by Lorinda Watts Massage and Bluebird Specialty Massage while others taste-tested products from Body by Vi and Jim's Nutrition.

The women also visited with a variety of vendors who offered miscellaneous merchandise such as skin care products, items for the household, and clothing and purses.

During the second half of the evening, the women listened to Dr. Troy Lehman, obstetrician/gynecologist at WRH, discuss ovarian cancer.

"We have good screening tests for most of the cancers," Lehman said. "But we don't really have a screening test for ovarian cancer."

This is part of why it's a "silent killer" of women, he said.  Ovarian cancer is in the top 10 most common cancers women get, and in the top 5 of being one of the most deadly.

"Almost half of the people diagnosed with ovarian cancer don't live after 5 years," Lehman said.

These statistics haven't significantly improved over the last 30 years either, he said.  

Also, 70 to 90 percent of patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer will have a reoccurrence.  

Without a screening test, Lehman said it is important for women to know the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer and communicate them with their doctor.

Some of the symptoms include:

Digestive and bladder problems

Abdominal pressure

Bloating

Urinary urgency or frequency

Changes in bladder habits

Loss of appetite or quickly feeling full

Persistent loss of energy

Menstrual changes

While many women may already have many of these symptoms, Lehman said if they get worse, that is when you really need to talk to your doctor. It is also important to know your family history because you could be genetically predisposed.

"You are 3 times more likely for it to affect you if you have a family history of it," he said.

Age also plays a factor.  Women who are post-menopausal, usually age 65 and up, are more likely to develop ovarian cancer because of estrogen levels. Women who are also at higher risk include women who have never had children, women who have children after the age of 35 and those who are obese.

These risk factors deal with the levels of estrogen the body is exposed and how they may stimulate the ovaries he said.

Some of the things that can prevent ovarian cancer include birth control, breast feeding and pregnancy and surgical prevention. Since contraceptives keep the body from ovulating and regulate and reduces the body's estrogen levels it reduces risk of ovarian cancer he said. Breast feeding and pregnancy have a similar effect.

As far as surgical prevention, those who undergo tubal ligation (tie their fallopian tubes) or hysterectomies are less likely to develop the cancer especially if the ovaries are removed during a hysterectomy, he said.

However, Lehman said even if the ovaries are removed there is still a chance of getting ovarian cancer from the lining inside of the abdomen.

He said it is important to let your doctor know about the symptoms you are having to help you prevent from developing ovarian cancer.

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