Detecting Ovarian Cancer in time to do something about it

it is the deadliest form of reproductive organ cancer in women. Ovarian Cancer often proves fatal because it is more often than not detected in the advanced stages.

Although some studies indicate that women are living up to ten years after diagnosis screening and prevention have become a major focus.

In its quest to give extra time to important stories with local experts, the CBS 58 News at 4:30 had a special guest; Dr. Ali Mahdavi of Aurora Health Care. 

Here is a transcript of the interview as it aired on Wednesday September 9th.

Dr. Mahdavi: Unfortunately we don't have any good screening method for early ovarian cancer, There are some advances in British study combining ultra sound and blood testing. But at this time, unfortunately, we don't have a good screening for general population.
Michele McCormack: Is any type of woman or any woman a particular background that would indicate a woman is susceptible. We've heard about a gene for breast cancer. What is the situation with ovarian cancer?
Dr. Mahdavi: Certain women are at higher risk. Women with strong family history of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, certainly, they're at high risk. At Aurora Health Care we offer counseling and early screening for women who are thought to be at high risk for ovarian cancer.  There are genetic tests that can be done and these  tests detect mutations that put the woman at high risk for ovarian cancer. For example, BRCA puts the woman at much higher risk for ovarian and breast cancer.    
Michele: So we usually hear it about it detecting breast cancer risk but it also gauges ovarian cancer risk.
Dr. Mahdavi: That is correct.  
Michele: What other screening and testing should a woman consider and of course the big question, does insurance cover it?
Dr. Mahdavi: Insurance does cover the genetic testing for women felt to be at high risk  But as I mentioned there's no screening for women who are average risk for ovarian cancer. But, certainly, yearly gynecological examination would help to detect gynecological conditions.
Michele: So often women will say I'm too busy, I've pushed back the yearly exam. Don't skip that visit.
Dr. Mahdavi: That is correct. With  the change in the guidelines where we space out pap smears to three or five years, that doesn't mean a woman doesn't need a yearly gynecological exam. 
Michele: So you need to have some straight talk with your doctor? As uncomfortable as it is. What about what we hear in the news having preventative double mastectomy to reduce risk of breast cancer. Would you recommend a  hysterectomy to prevent ovarian cancer?
Dr. Mahdavi:  By definition that surgical removal of the uterus that decrease risk but more importantly is the removal of the Fallopian tubes at the time of elective hysterectomy. At Aurora we offer that for women who undergo hysterectomy for any reason.
Michele: Are there any symptoms that might hint you have ovarian cancer.
Dr. Mahdavi: Yes. In early stages pelvic pain. Pressure. Urinary frequency. Bloating change in bowel habits. 
Michele: What do i need to do in terms of lifestyle choices. Exercise more, fruits and vegetables?
Dr. Mahdavi: All of those. Obesity is a major risk. So maintaining ideal body weight is believed to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.  Diet low in fat high in vegetables antioxidants.
Michele: Just like with so many cancers. If we are all talking about them. We need to talk about ovarian cancer as well. 

For more information on Dr. Mahdavi click here

For a link to the American Caner Society's fact page about ovarian cancer click here

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