From the Desk of Vanessa – September

Written by: Vanessa De Aquino, RPN, 3rd year Nursing BScN student at Trent University 

The Ovaries and Some Risk Factors 

The female reproductive system consists of a few internal and external organs and each plays a different role in fertility and hormone production. The ovaries are these two little glands, each located on each side of the uterus.  They produce important hormones such as estrogen and progesterone that help to regulate the reproductive function in women. The ovaries also produce the female gametes (also known as ova, or eggs) that travel along the uterine tubes and then combine with a sperm cell to become the first cell of an offspring. The cause of ovarian cancer is not really known but women that have a mutation in the genes called BRCA are more susceptible to ovarian and breast cancer (5). Normally, these genes inhibit tumour growth and if a mutation is present, the genes lose this tumour suppression ability. Other risk factors include age, women who have never given birth, use of infertility medications, and family history of ovarian cancer but also breast and colon cancer (7). With that being said, let’s learn about some statistics about ovarian cancer in Canada.  

Did You Know? 

What To Do 

What makes ovarian cancer so deadly is that most women find out they have it when the cancer is at an advanced stage. The uniqueness of uterine cancer is that there are no screening tests to prevent this type of cancer such as the Papanicouloau test (Pap test) which only detects cervical cancer, or a mammogram to screen for breast cancer. Therefore, it is important to learn about some clinical manifestations which can include abdominal pain, distention, lack of appetite, increased abdominal girth and menstrual changes (8).  

Now that you know the risk factors and some of the clinical manifestations, speak with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.  

Diet 

The Foods that fight cancer website is an incredible source of recipes and food items that can reduce your risk of developing cancer (6) And because summer is ending and the fall season is starting, the recipe below can be great to go along with your day. 

Enjoy the heat with some Yogurt! 

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt with Flavoured Honey 

This recipe is developed and presented by ELLICSR Kitchen 

Ingredients

1 ½ cups of Frozen Strawberries 

½ cup of Plain Greek Yogurt 

½ Lemon, juice and zest 

3 tbsp of flavoured honey 

Flavoured honey:  

1 cup of honey 

¼ cup of fresh basil, roughly chopped 

1 cinnamon stick, crushed 

½ lemon, juice and zest 

Directions

  1. Add yogurt, lemon juice and honey into the food processor first. Top with the frozen strawberries and pulse until smooth. 
  2. You may need to stop once and a while to push the sides down with a spoon. 
  3. If it’s too solid and not turning, add a little more yogurt or if it’s too wet add a few more frozen strawberries. Let it rest in the freezer for about 10 minutes before serving. 
  4. For the flavoured honey, add the basil, cinnamon stick pieces, lemon juice and zest to the bottom of a jar. Mix and bash it up with the back of a spoon. Stir in your honey and refrigerate until needed. 

Exercise 

It is well known that physical activities decrease the risks of developing cancer in addition to reducing inflammation, preventing obesity and improving overall cardiovascular health. The Canadian Cancer Society recommends that adults should do moderate exercises for 30 minutes daily (2) Some of these exercises can include brisk walking, swimming, dancing, and hiking and they are great examples of how you can get your heart pumping and reduce your risks. It is wise to speak with your healthcare team before starting any exercise routine.

References

  1. Cancer Care Society (2022). Ovarian cancer statistics. https://cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-types/ovarian/statistics 
  2. Canadian Cancer Society (n.d.). How much physical activity should adults get dailyhttps://cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/reduce-your-risk/move-more-sit-less/how-much-physical-activity-should-adults-get-daily 
  3. Canadian Cancer Society Advisory Committee on Cancer Statistics (2015). Canadian cancer statistics 2015. https://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/cervical/statistics/?region=on 
  4. Cancer Care Ontario (n.d.). Ovarian Cancer. https://www.cancercareontario.ca/en/types-of-cancer/ovarian-cancer 
  5. Mainor, C., & Isaacs, C. (2020). Risk management for BRCA 1/BRCA 2 mutation carriers without and with breast cancer. Current Breast Cancer Reportshttps://doi.org/10.1007/s12609-019-00350-2 
  6. Foods that Fight Cancer (2022). Recipeshttps://www.foodsthatfightcancer.ca/strawberry-frozen-yogurt-with-flavoured-honey/ 

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