Ovarian Cancer Awareness: Understanding Risk and Prevention

September 29, 2023Melissa K. Rosen

Sharsheret, a national non-profit organization, improves the lives of Jewish women and families living with or at increased genetic risk for breast or ovarian cancer through personalized support and saves lives through educational outreach. Read what Melissa K. Rosen, director of training and education, wants you to know about risk and prevention.

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Perhaps you did not know that, and that’s understandable because unfortunately, it gets far less publicity than next month’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. That may be because there are far fewer cases of ovarian cancer annually. Still, it is critically important for women to understand their personal risk, and how to reduce that risk because ovarian cancer is a serious diagnosis. Below are some important tips and facts provided by Sharsheret’s Clinical Team, to help raise awareness of your risk.

  • Approximately 1 in 70 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in their lifetime. 
  • Symptoms of ovarian cancer include bloating, fatigue, pelvic or abdominal pain, back pain, heartburn, feeling full quickly, constipation, frequent or urgent urination, and or pain during intercourse.
  • These symptoms can easily be attributed to benign causes and often dismissed. If symptoms are not caused by other factors and persist, visit your gynecologist.
  • There is no reliable screening method that regularly detects ovarian cancer at the early stages.
  • New guidelines suggest anyone having pelvic or abdominal surgery, and is done having children, should consider finding out if their fallopian tubes can be removed at the same time to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.
  • If you have a family history of cancer, and especially if you have Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, hereditary cancer genetic testing can help determine what screening is best for you.
  • If the results of genetic testing in a family are negative, it is still possible that the cancer in the family is inherited, resulting from genetic mutations in the family that we don’t yet know how to identify.
  • Individuals who carry a hereditary mutation have the opportunity to make choices about high-risk screening and risk-reducing surgery that may save their life.
  • Sharsheret provides free support to anyone impacted by ovarian cancer, including conversations with our genetic counselor about diagnostic risk.


While our expertise is in young women and Jewish families as related to breast cancer and ovarian cancer, Sharsheret programs serve all people.

Visit Sharsheret at www.sharsheret.org. Contact us at 866-474-2774 or info@sharsheret.org.

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