September is Gynaecological Cancer Awareness month, an important time to shine a light on New Zealand’s largest cause of gynaecological cancer deaths – ovarian cancer.
This month we’d love it if you could help us raise awareness of ovarian cancer. Below you will find some resources like printable posters, and images you can download and post to your social media throughout the month.
We’ve also collated some information so you can learn more about ovarian cancer, and take what you’ve learned to share with friends or your family members.
What is ovarian cancer?
Ovarian cancer refers to cancer that develops in the ovary, fallopian tube or peritoneum (lining of the abdomen).
There are over 30 sub-types of ovarian cancer including high-grade serous (the most common type), low-grade serous, clear cell and germ cell.
Most women are diagnosed in their 60s but it’s not uncommon for women to be diagnosed in their 30s.
Ovarian cancer tumors typically grow quickly, are found in advanced stages and are difficult to treat.
Ovarian cancer is often found in advanced stages because symptoms are often mistaken for other common issues women experience and are difficult to treat due to a lack of research and treatment options available.
How many people does it affect?
Every year 370 kiwi women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer has a poor 5-year survival rate, at just 36%. Every year 249 women die of ovarian cancer in New Zealand.
Ovarian cancer also affects family and friends with medical appointments, mental wellbeing, health issues and financial stress impacting support networks.
Does a smear test check for ovarian cancer?
No, smear tests only test for cervical cancer. Ovarian cancer testing is done through a CA-125 blood test and a transvaginal ultrasound. You get these tests through a referral from your GP. You need to be aware of the symptoms of ovarian cancer and see your GP if you experience any for more than two weeks.
What symptoms should I be aware of?
- Abdominal/pelvic pain or discomfort
- Increased abdominal size/bloating
- Changes in your bowel habits
- Eating less or feeling fuller
- Needing to urinate more often or urgently
If you experience any new or worsening symptoms for two weeks, see your doctor.
How can I help?
You can support women living with ovarian cancer today, and make a difference for the women who will be diagnosed tomorrow, by donating to Cure Our Ovarian Cancer.
Your support will help us fund our four core services areas:
- Awareness and Education