About 2 out of every 3 Australian women are confused regarding the differences between cervical and ovarian cancers, according to research by Ovarian Cancer Australia.
In a recent news article by the West Australian entitled “Women in the dark on cancer“, Ovarian Cancer Australia found that as a result of this lack of understanding, many Australian women are taking the wrong tests and treatments for cancer.
For example, many Australian women believe that a pap smear tests for both ovarian cancer and cervical cancer, when it does not. A pap smear is a screening test that can only be used to help prevent cervical cancer, not ovarian cancer.
Another misunderstanding that many Australian women have is that many wrongly think that the human papillomavirus vaccine which protects against cervical cancer can also help stop ovarian cancer. This is simply not the case.
Every year, approximately 1300 Australian women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Of those that are diagnosed, more than 800 Australian women die from ovarian cancer per year.
With the many misunderstandings between ovarian and cervical cancers prevalent amongst many Australian women, it is very important for women of all ages to be more informed.
For instance, women should be wary of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, which include increased abdominal size or persistent bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, the need to urinate urgently or often, and feeling full after eating only a small portion.