Media Advisory: September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Norwalk Hospital
Ovarian Cancer Awarness Month

Western Connecticut Health Network (WCHN) medical experts are available to talk about the risk factors, symptoms, and advances in treatment and research for ovarian cancer.

Plus, hear from a Danbury Hospital patient that had a rare form of ovarian cancer. She credits her positive outcome to a multidisciplinary team of medical specialists at Danbury Hospital, the support of her community, and her own optimistic attitude. Read the full story here.

Ovarian cancer by the numbers
Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women and about 20,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year in the United States. Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other gynecologic cancer mainly due to delayed symptom presentation and lack of early detection strategies. Only about 19 percent of ovarian cancer is diagnosed in the early stages. Women diagnosed and treated in the earlier stages have a five-year survival rate of over 90 percent, whereas the survival rate for women with Stage III or IV ovarian cancer is about 28 percent.

Early detection increases survival rate
WCHN encourages women to speak with their primary care providers and gynecologists if they have risk factors that may increase the likelihood of getting ovarian cancer. Risk factors include: genetic predisposition (BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, Lynch syndrome or family history of breast, colon or ovarian cancer), personal history of endometriosis or breast, colon or uterine cancer, or increasing age.

Women should also speak with their doctor if they have persistent symptoms of ovarian cancer that are not normal for them. Symptoms include: back pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting, constipation or menstrual changes, fatigue, feeling the need to urinate urgently or often, pain during sex, pelvic or abdominal pain, trouble eating or feeling full quickly, upset stomach or heartburn, or vaginal bleeding or discharge.

Advances in treatment and research for ovarian cancer at WCHN
WCHN has a comprehensive ovarian cancer program from genetic testing and advanced therapy options, to research to improve diagnosis and treatment of gynecologic cancers.

Genetic counseling
Twenty to 25 percent of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer have a hereditary tendency to develop the disease. WCHN genetic counseling and testing helps patients to know their level of cancer risk, and ways to reduce their risk of developing cancer.

New study suggests aspirin may reduce risk of ovarian cancer
WCHN gynecologic oncologists can comment on a new study that suggests one low-dose aspirin a day could help women avoid ovarian cancer or boost their survival should it develop. The study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) in May 2018.

Advanced therapy options
WCHN offers patients advanced ovarian cancer treatment options including targeted therapies and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). HIPEC is a heated chemotherapy treatment that is delivered directly to the patient’s abdomen during surgery, after the surgeon has removed visible ovarian tumors. HIPEC allows for high doses of chemotherapy within the abdomen, minimizes the rest of the body's exposure to the chemotherapy, improves chemotherapy absorption and susceptibility of cancer cells, and reduces some chemotherapy side effects.

Gynecologic cancer research
Translational research is currently being conducted at the WCHN Rudy L. Ruggles Biomedical Research Institute. The aim of our precision medicine program, including circulating tumor DNA bench research and proteomics, is to link patient clinical care and genomic information to improve earlier cancer detection methods and personalized treatment for women with gynecologic cancers.

To speak with WCHN medical experts, please contact:

Amy Forni
Manager, Public Relations