Did you know that there are steps that you can take toward preventing ovarian and prostate cancer?
439.2 new cases of cancer per 100,000 men and women are diagnosed every year. It can be daunting knowing you're essentially playing a genetic lottery. For women and men respectively, they have ovarian and prostate cancer to worry about. The good news? Prevention and early detection is key! The best way to do that is to know the symptoms and cancer risk factors associated with them, so lets discuss.
Ovarian cancer is the 5th leading cause of cancer death in women. Below you will find symptoms and risk factors you should be looking out for.
In the early stages of ovarian cancer, there may be little to no symptoms. However, you may experience:
- Pelvic pain
- Abdominal pain
- Feeling of fullness
- Frequent urination
- Back pain
- Upset stomach
- Painful sex
- Changes in your period
Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors
Women have a 1 out of 78 chance of getting ovarian cancer in their lifetimes. That number may be higher depending on how many risk factors they fit. Below are a few:
- Older age (over 63)
- Being overweight or obese
- Lack of full-term pregnancy
- Having children after 35
- Hormone therapy after menopause
- History of breast cancer
- Family history
- Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC)
Prostate health is vital, as 1 out of every 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Keep reading to find out the symptoms and risk factors associated with this cancer.
Prostate cancer is a slow-growing cancer, which means it can be hard to catch at times. Like with ovarian cancer, there are usually no symptoms in the early stages. Symptoms you should watch out for include:
- Trouble urinating
- Pain while urinating (rare symptom)
- Frequent urination at night
- Blood in your urine
- Blood in your semen
- Trouble getting an erection
- Pain in your hips, back, or chest
- Weakness or numbness in your legs or feet
- Swelling in your legs or feet
- Discomfort when sitting (the result of an enlarged prostate)
- Unexplained weight loss
- Change in your bowel habits
Prostate Cancer Risk Factors
Having one (or even a few) of the risk factors doesn't necessarily mean you'll get prostate cancer in the future. However, it can mean you need to be more vigilant about this disease.
Here are some of the risk factors for this cancer:
- Older age (over 50)
- African-American or Caribbean-African heritage
- Location (it's more commonly diagnosed in North America, Australia, northwestern Europe, and the Caribbean islands)
- Agent Orange exposure
- Family history
- Inherited gene changes (mutations of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, Lynch syndrome, etc.)
Prevention and Early Detection Are Key
When it comes to ovarian and prostate cancer, prevention and early detection are key to survival. By knowing the cancer risk factors and symptoms, this will help immensely in getting you the proper treatment promptly.
In general, doctors agree that men and women with an average risk for prostate or ovarian cancer respectively can make choices to benefit their overall health:
- Choose a healthy diet
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise most days of the week
- Talk to your doctor regularly about your health
- Dont skip annual check ups and wellness exams
If you feel you are at a higher risk for prostate or ovarian cancer, speak with your doctor about other options that may be available for prevention and, of course, discuss what steps are necessary to detect any signs early on.
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