q Ovarian Cancer :: Australian women confused about ovarian cancer | Health | Spirit India

Ovarian Cancer :: Australian women confused about ovarian cancer

An Australian survey commissioned by the National Breast Cancer Centre has revealed half of all Australian women are potentially putting their lives at risk by incorrectly assuming a Pap smear will detect ovarian cancer.

Dr Helen Zorbas, Director of the National Breast Cancer Centre?s Ovarian Cancer Program said ?Women should not be complacent in thinking a Pap smear will screen them for the early warning signs of all gynaecological cancers ? it was designed to detect cervical cancer only.?

Most disturbingly it is women aged 50 years and over ? those at most risk of developing ovarian cancer ? who are getting it wrong.

?Fifty-six per cent of women aged 50 years and over believe a Pap smear will detect ovarian cancer and an additional 13 per cent are not sure,? said Dr Zorbas.

While research is ongoing, there is currently no screening test for ovarian cancer.

The survey also revealed a sobering lack of knowledge about the symptoms of ovarian cancer with 56 per cent of women unable to correctly name any signs or symptoms of the disease.

?It is vital that women are aware of the symptoms that may indicate ovarian cancer and see their GP promptly about any unusual or persistent changes in their bodies,? said Dr Zorbas.

A recent Senate Inquiry into gynaecological cancer in Australia identified a need for increased awareness amongst the broader community about gynaecological cancers and symptoms and better educational support for general practitioners.

The National Breast Cancer Centre is working on several fronts to improve ovarian cancer awareness and outcomes for women diagnosed, including;

The development of GP Education Kit to assist general practitioners in the appropriate investigation of symptoms that may be ovarian cancer.

The symptoms of the disease can be vague and mimic those of many other common conditions, yet it is vital that they are properly assessed to ensure an accurate diagnosis and prompt referral to a gynaecological oncologist. The Kits will be disseminated nationally to 119 Divisions of General Practice.

Taking the message of ovarian cancer awareness to women in more than 100 towns and cities across Australia as part of the On the Road initiative.

National Breast Cancer Centre has joined forces with The Australian Women?s Weekly, the Commonwealth Bank and the Today show providing health information sessions as part of a travelling road show across Australia in a 20-metre purpose built truck.

The translation of information about ovarian cancer awareness for women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Potentially lifesaving information about ovarian cancer facts, risk factors, symptoms and what to do has been translated into the five most commonly used languages other than English in Australia ? Chinese, Vietnamese, Italian, Greek and Arabic.

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