5 Facts You Should Know About Ovarian Cancer

ovarian cancer ribbonOctober 9, 2012 we lost a beautiful soul to Ovarian Cancer.  Tara Fuller, your mom inspired us all with her perpetual smile and fortitude. This will be the third time 12 Oaks Dental is supporting the Austin NOCC 5K. Ovarian cancer is a relatively rare but deadly disease.  We are Breaking the Silence! We are sponsoring and participating in honor of Virginia Pearson and all the victims and warriors of ovarian cancer.

Top 5 Things Women Should Know About Ovarian Cancer (adapted from livescience website)

1) Overall, 1 in 72 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer during their lifetime.

2) The single greatest risk factor for developing ovarian cancer is a family history of the disease, like a mother or sister.

3) A woman’s risk of ovarian cancer seems to increase with the number of times over her life that she ovulates.

4) Symptoms are similar to more common conditions, like digestive problems.

5) There are no effective screening tests to detect ovarian cancer.

The Numbers

Ovarian cancer is a relatively rare, but deadly, cancer. The National Cancer Institute estimates 22,280 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year, and 15,500 women will die of the disease. (For comparison, the NCI estimates that 226,870 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and 39,510 women will die of that disease this year.) Overall, 1 in 72 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer during their lifetime.

Ovarian cancer is more often diagnosed in white women than in women of other races. In the U.S., there are 13.4 cases diagnosed yearly for every 100,000 white women, 11.3 cases per 100,000 Hispanic women, and 9.8 cases per 100,000 black or Asian women.

The 5-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is around 44 percent, but the survival rate varies greatly with the stage of diagnosis. According to the NCI, 91.5 percent of patients diagnosed before the cancer has spread survive at least five years, whereas only 26.9 percent of those diagnosed after the cancer has spread to other sites in the body survive five years.

Risk Factors

The single greatest risk factor for developing ovarian cancer is a family history of the disease, according to the NCI. A woman’s risk of the disease triples if she has at least one first-degree relative (a mother, daughter or sister) with ovarian cancer.

One reason that risk tends to run in families is that certain families may have mutated versions of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. These mutations raise a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer: 15 to 40 percent of women who have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer over the course of their lifetime, whereas 1.4 percent of women in the general population will be diagnosed. Women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations typically develop ovarian cancer before age 50.

Still, 85 to 90 percent of ovarian cancer cases have no clear genetic link.  Fertility drugs, hormone replacement therapy after menopause, and obesity have also been linked with an increased risk of the disease. In general, a woman’s risk of the disease rises with age.

A woman’s risk of ovarian cancer seems to increase with the number of times over her life that she ovulates.  Pregnancy, breast-feeding and birth control pills all temporarily halt ovulation, and studies have linked all of those factors to a decreased risk of ovarian cancer.

Symptoms

One of the reasons ovarian cancer is difficult to detect in its early states is that its symptoms are similar to those of other, more-common conditions, like digestive problems.

Here are some symptoms of ovarian cancer:

  • Abdominal pressure, fullness or bloating
  • Pelvic discomfort or pain
  • Persistent indigestion, gas or nausea
  • Changes in bladder or bowel habits, such as constipation or a frequent need to urinate
  • Loss of appetite or quickly feeling full
  • Increased abdominal girth or clothes fitting tighter around your waist
  • A persistent lack of energy

In ovarian cancer, symptoms tend to last longer and worsen over time.

Screening tests

No screening test has proved to be effective in detecting ovarian cancer. Pelvic exams conducted by doctors may include a check of the ovaries, but these often don’t catch tumors until they have grown large.

Now that you know about ovarian cancer.  Help us Break the Silence and support 12 Oaks Dental at the NOCC 5K this August 10, 2013. The race is located at the Domain in Northwest Austin.

Your Teeth Are Not Tools!

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You know they shouldn’t be! But we do it all the time. It’s so easy to just use your teeth to open plastic bags, rip off sales tags, or hold on to small objects while you’re working on a task.

At 12 Oaks Dental in Austin, we see patients with chipped or broken teeth, and how do you think many of them got that way? Yep, using their teeth for something other than biting or chewing food!

What are the most important things you should avoid doing with your teeth?

      Don’t use your teeth to open anything!

Using your teeth to open shipping envelopes, bottle caps, candy bars can not only damage the individual teeth involved, but also throw your jaw joint out of balance, which can lead to chronic jaw pain, such as TMD/TMJ disorder.

      Don’t use your teeth as a scissors

Yes, those plastic sales tags are annoying! If you try to rip them with your hands, they feel like they could cut right through skin. Packing tape is another culprit—you just want to get it started and then rip the rest. Still a bad idea!

So what could happen if you use your teeth in ways nature didn’t really intend? Obviously you could chip or break your tooth, requiring a restoration, such as dental bonding, or a porcelain crown.

You could get a serious scratch or cut inside your mouth that could cause an infection, not to mention pain!

So next time you’re in a hardware store, why not pick up a small multi-purpose tool and keep it handy in your car or in your kitchen? If you do experience an injury, no matter what the reason, please contact us at our dental office in Austin at 512.346.5196 as soon as possible!

Read Inferno!

Inferno by Dan BrownWe have quite a few avid readers at 12 Oaks Dental.  For all the book lovers out there, Laura always has a book to recommend when she has fellow bibliophile in the office for a visit.  If you have an appetite for mystery thrillers, consider the recent release of the Dan Brown novel, Inferno.  This book is fourth in his Robert Langdon series, following Angels and Demons, The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol.  The book was released on May 14, 2013 by Doubleday.

The action starts in Florence, Italy.  Robert Langdon doesn’t remember how he got there or why someone would take a shot at him.  Suspense and great reading!  Great adventure story and a book you won’t be able to put down.   Dan Brown is a superb storyteller.  All his novels are sure to please.

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