Every year around the globe, 314,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, according to the World Ovarian Cancer Coalition. Of those, 207,000 will die.
So when former tennis star Chris Evert disclosed her diagnosis recently, it made headlines everywhere.
The discovery of Evert’s disease came in early stages, prompted because of new genetic testing available since her sister died of the disease two years ago. Family history contributes to risk, and ovarian cancer is rarely detected so soon because there aren’t any noticeable signs of it yet. How much do you know about this disease that often strikes older women?
“I feel very lucky that they caught it early and expect positive results from my chemo plan,” said Evert in an ESPN.com article.
The Baby Boomer legend – who won 18 Grand Slam singles titles in the 1970s and ‘80s — is 67 now. Half of ovarian cancers are diagnosed at 63 or older, and the disease is rare before 40, experts say.
Other risk factors include obesity, smoking, and being sedentary, the Canadian Cancer Society says. None of those apply to Evert.
The champ hopes to inspire other women to take an active role in their health.
“Be your own advocate,” she said. “Know your family’s history. Have total awareness of your body, follow your gut and be aware of changes. Don’t try to be a crusader and think this will pass.”
Maintain regular checkups, know your family history, and talk with your doctor about the risks.
Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.