Putting Ovarian Self Awareness in Action™ with Bright Pink®

Bright Pink is a national nonprofit focused on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer. Together with Color, we’re empowering women to know their ovarian cancer risk and how to manage their ovarian health proactively. Be #OvarianSelfAware today at BrightPink.org/OvarianSelfAware.

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, but many people still aren’t aware of the symptoms and risk factors that can sometimes lead to an ovarian cancer diagnosis. It’s even called the “silent killer” because its symptoms are so often attributed to other ailments.

You may have heard of “Breast Self-Awareness,” a term that replaced the “Breast Self-Exam” to more properly describe the importance of knowing the normal look and feel of your breasts in order to monitor their health. This September, in honor of National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Bright Pink is encouraging women to adopt a new term and take an active role in their health by practicing ovarian self-awareness.

Ovarian Self-Awareness, a term coined at Bright Pink, is defined as a recognition of one’s own ovarian health and cancer risk. Here are two steps you can take toward being #OvarianSelfAware.

Know Your Family History

If there is a history of ovarian cancer on either side of your family — maternal or paternal — you could be a great candidate for genetic testing. When we look at the causes of ovarian cancer, 25 percent of ovarian cancer incidence is influenced by familial or hereditary factors. While a large number of ovarian cancer diagnoses are sporadic in nature, understanding your family health history can provide life-saving clues into your personal health.

Ask your family members these three questions:

Ovarian cancer has genetic links to other forms of cancer (especially breast cancer), so it’s important to get as comprehensive of an understanding of your family’s history as possible.

Know the Symptoms

The symptoms of ovarian cancer can be vague and easily confused with menstrual or digestive issues. For this reason, ovarian cancer is often detected at a later stage, when it has already become life threatening. But when caught early, the 5-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is greater than 92 percent. That’s why it’s so important to stay alert and aware of what is happening with your body. Some symptoms include pelvic or abdominal pain, prolonged bloating, frequent urination, constipation, and heartburn. Sound familiar? Even the healthiest women experience these symptoms on a regular basis. The key is persistence. If you notice any of these symptoms persisting for 2–3 weeks, it’s time to make an appointment with a health provider and ask, “Could it be my ovaries?”

Visit BrightPink.org/OvarianSelfAware for additional resources that will help you take a proactive, personalized approach to ovarian health management.

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