Are you at risk for Ovarian cancer?

Posted at 9:45 AM, Feb 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-03 09:45:47-05

Ovarian cancer is one of the deadliest diseases a woman can face, and oftentimes, women can confuse symptoms with something less serious.

Roswell Park doctor explains risk factors, symptoms

Women can be diagnosed at any age, but the risk increases after you turn 55. There is no way to screen for it, so how do know if you're at risk?

Kathleen Maxian, a six-year survivor of the disease and founder of the Western New York Cancer Project, says your family history can help determine if you're at risk.

"We know that we can do things for people who have family histories," said Maxian.

She said if you have a family history of cancer, especially ovarian, breast, colon and pancreatic, your risk of developing ovarian cancer could be higher. According to Maxian and her organization, one in 71 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

It's also important to recognize warning signs and symptoms including bloating, abdominal pain and urinary frequency.

"The problem with that is that when we talk to women about this their eyes get real big and they become very concerned," said Maxian.

"Here's the reason why: those mimic other things.There are times in our life when we're all bloated,  when we all have abdominal pain, but the significance with ovarian cancer is the frequency and the duration of the symptoms."

Maxian's organization works to educate women about the disease and offers support groups to women going through treatment.