Nursing Education Update About Ovarian Cancer

Nurses do you know the signs and symptoms’ of Ovarian Cancer?  This month is  National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and we would like to share some valuableNurse information that may save your life or the life of someone you care about. Nurses you may also be able to refer to this information when you are providing Nursing Education. The reference source is Ovarian Cancer Australia

“Women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer report the following  symptoms! It is important to remember that most women with these symptoms will not have ovarian cancer!


          Four Most Reported Symptoms:        Other Symptoms  May Include:
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Changes in your bowel habits.
  • Increased abdominal size or persistent abdominal bloating
  • Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
  • Needing to urinate often or urgently
  • Bleeding in-between periods or after menopause
  • Feeling full after eating a small amount
  • Back pain

If experiencing these symptoms use the

Symptom Diary

  • Indigestion or nausea.


      Do Not Wait – Go and See Your Doctor
  • Excessive fatigue
  Ovarian Cancer does not have to be Fatal
  • Pain during intercourse

Nurses did you know that there is a great  Symptom Diary that can be used to  record symptoms , which can then be taken to the Doctor to assist with diagnosis. Ovarian Cancer Australia recommends that  if a woman has any of these symptoms, if  they are new and if the woman  has experienced them multiple times during a 4-week period, the Symptom Diary should be used.   A copy of the Symptom Diary is enclosed with this blog!

Ovarian Cancer Australia also provides a list of the following  Risk Factors.

  • Age: ovarian cancer is most common in women over 50 and in women who have stopped menstruating (have been through menopause), and the risk increases with age. However, ovarian cancer can affect women of all ages.
  • Genetics and family history:  If a woman has two or more relatives from the same side of her family affected by ovarian, or ovarian and breast cancer her risk of developing ovarian cancer may be increased. This tends to be a result of an inherited faulty gene (BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation) that increase a woman’s risk of developing ovarian and breast cancer. Genetics and family history are responsible for at least 15% of ovarian cancers. Women who are descended from Ashkenazi Jewish populations are more likely to carry this faulty gene. All women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are recommended to attend a familial cancer centre to consider genetic testing.
  • Child-bearing history: women who have not had children, are unable to have children, have never used oral contraceptives or have had children over the age of 30, may be slightly more at risk. This is due to ovaries not having a “rest” from the break and repair of the surface of the ovary when women ovulate each month.
  • Endometriosis: this condition is when the tissue lining the uterus (endometrium) is also found outside of the uterus.
  • Lifestyle factors: such as smoking tobacco, being overweight or eating a high fat diet.
  • Hormonal factors: including early puberty (menstruating before 12) or late menopause (onset after 50).

Non conclusive risk factors:

  • Women who are using oestrogen only hormone replacement therapy may have a slightly increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  • Multiple exposure to fertility drugs.
  • Genital contact with talcum or asbestos, which are sometimes used in talcum powders, douches and condoms (this is highly controversial and not proven).”

Nurses did you know there are four main types of ovarian cancer, and these are named after the type of cells in the ovary where the cancer begins growing.

  • “Epithelial ovarian cancer begins in the epithelium: the outer cells that cover the ovary. This is the most common type of ovarian cancer, accounting for about 90% of cases.
  • Borderline tumours are a group of epithelial tumours which are not as aggressive as other epithelial tumours. Borderline tumours may also be called ‘low malignant potential’ or LMP tumours. The outlook for women with borderline tumours is generally good regardless of whether the disease is diagnosed early or late.
  • Germ cell ovarian cancer begins in the cells that mature into eggs. These tumours account for about 5% of ovarian cancers and usually affect women under 30 years.
  • Sex-cord stromal cell ovarian cancer begins in the ovary cells that release female hormones. These tumours account for about 5% of ovarian cancers and can affect women of any age.
    Both germ cell and sex-cord stromal cell ovarian cancers respond well to treatment and are often curable. If either of these cancers affect only one ovary, it may be possible for younger women to have children after treatment”

To access Ovarian Cancer Australia click here>>

I encourage every Nurse to take the time to refresh their Nursing Knowledge and Education  on Ovarian Cancer . Did you know  there is a great webinar available at the Nurses for Nurses Network  The ovarian cancer story – awareness, support, advocacy and research.

The Nurses for Nurses Network has a great range of Nursing Education and Nursing activities . The sessions are focused on Nurses who need to know about Nursing Topics  in the ‘real world’ where Nurses are often time poor and resource limited.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *