I was reading about Noa Popovsky, a 34-year-old who has lost her reproductive organs, her spleen, and parts of her liver and her colon to ovarian cancer – the deadliest type of gynaecological cancer.
“Like many women, I used to be a full time working mother, busy looking after my kids, husband, house and never really stopping,” Popovsky told The Telegraph.
“Now, I have been forced to stop and it makes everything sweeter. I appreciate every moment.”
The mother of two is currently receiving treatment after her second relapse and, in Australia, there are many women in a similar situation.
This year, it is estimated 1,580 females will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Their chance of surviving five years is around 44 per cent. Also this year, ovarian cancer will take the lives of 1,047 Australian women.
Like most cancers, the chances of surviving ovarian cancer increase the sooner it is diagnosed. But – with symptoms that are difficult to identify and easily explained as something else – diagnosis is often a problem and around 70 per cent of cases diagnosed are already at the late stages of stage three or stage four.
In Noa’s case, for example, she suffered six months of low level back pain and bloating before she was told she had stage four ovarian cancer. She had been misdiagnosed twice by different doctors who told her it was a urinary tract infection.
The key is prevention.
Reading about Noa, I discovered both taking the contraceptive pill and childbirth can reduce a woman's risk of ovarian cancer. What?
It is not something I have read or heard about before and, when I stumbled across this helpful and promising and why-don't-I-know-this-and-how-many-other-people-are-also-unaware nugget of information, I decided to find out more.
Speaking to Melbourne obstetrician, gynaecologist and IVF specialist, Dr Joseph Sgroi, I learned there are three factors that can reduce a woman's risk of ovarian cancer.
Taking the Pill
Joe tells me that yes, taking the Pill does reduce a woman's risk of ovarian cancer. He also pointed me to a recent analysis of 45 epidemiological studies from 21 countries to make sure I believed him.