Ovarian cancer develops in the tissue of the ovaries, the reproductive glands where eggs are formed. The National Cancer Institute estimates that in one year approximately 22, new cases of ovarian cancer were diagnosed in the US and that nearly 14, women died from the disease. In New York State, in one year, just over women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and approximately died from the disease.
DiPronio, a writer, photographer and social activist in Philadelphia, recalls the unsettling feeling of being alone. Fear, doubt and isolation can be part of treatment and recovery for any cancer survivor. For those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender LGBTthese feelings can be magnified by worries about misunderstandings or discrimination.
Paula Ettlebrick died of ovarian cancer last week and a whole movement grieves her loss. Her beauty, passion, and intelligence do not come around very often. My close friend Adria died six years ago after a losing struggle with ovarian cancer and she was mourned by her lover, her son, an entire caseload of psychotherapy clients, and me.
In this post I want to talk about ovarian cancer and the special issues it raises for the LGBT community. Ovarian cancer is not common but very dangerous. The reason so many die is that diagnosis is difficult: symptoms are often not recognized; most people are diagnosed late, after the cancer has spread.
Lesbians and bisexual LB women have behavioural risk-factors at higher rates compared to heterosexuals such as increased alcohol intake and higher stress levels. Conversely, breast cancer rates are higher in more affluent women yet income levels in LB women are relatively low. This systematic review investigated all evidence on whether there is, or likely to be, higher rates of breast cancer in LB women.
However, studies have shown that the following symptoms are much more likely to occur in women with ovarian cancer than women in the general population. So, paying attention to recurring symptoms could help catch ovarian cancer it an earlier stage and increase the chance of survival. Then you can share that information with your doctor.
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A more recent article on preventive health care for women who have sex with women is available. Patient information: See related handout on health care for lesbians and bisexual women. For the most part, lesbians and bisexual women face the same health issues as heterosexual women, but they often have difficulty accessing appropriate care.