Is it time to get an ovarian screening?

Edith Lovett

Pulaski County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. In the U.S., ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any of the other gynecological cancers. Ovarian cancer too often appears without any symptoms at an advanced stage where the prognosis is very poor; however, when caught early, ovarian cancer is curable with surgery alone. To participate in the free Ovarian Screening from the University of Kentucky call 1-800-766-8279 or 859-323-4687 to make an appointment.

Ovarian cancer risk increases with age. It can be associated with a history of endometriosis, having family members who have had ovarian cancer, a personal diagnosis of breast cancer, Lynch syndrome (HNPCC), an Ashkenazi ancestry or certain predisposing genes. Women who never have had a full-term pregnancy, have had trouble getting pregnant, or delivered their first child after age 35 have increased risks for ovarian cancer. If you are concerned about these factors, speak with your doctor about your risk and if genetic counseling may be appropriate for you.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer are most often associated with advanced disease and include:

• abdominal bloating or swelling, back pain;

• quickly feeling full when eating;

• discomfort in the pelvic area;

• fatigue; and

• changes in bathroom habits.

However, a variety of common conditions can also display these symptoms. Consequently, it is important to detect ovarian cancer early. The UK Ovarian Cancer Screening Research Program is focused on early detection by screening the general population using transvaginal ultrasonography. This is the same modality used diagnostically when a person has symptoms or when someone is considered at high risk for ovarian cancer. The procedure is painless, takes less than 10 minutes and is free at UK.

You are eligible for free ovarian cancer screening at UK if you are:

• Over the age of 50 (including women who have no symptoms and no personal history of ovarian cancer)

• Over the age of 25 and have a family history of ovarian cancer or other risk factors

Although there is no known way to absolutely prevent ovarian cancer, there are some things that are associated with lowering the risk of ovarian cancer including:

• multiple pregnancies, especially before age 26;

• breastfeeding;

• oral contraceptive use (protection continues for up to 30 years after discontinuation); and

• surgery that removes the ovaries and fallopian tubes.

If you qualify for the screening, call the number listed above. You can have the screening at The University of Kentucky Whitney Hendrickson Women's Cancer Facility or at the Local Pulaski County Health Department. All appointments are scheduled through the University of Kentucky.

We also encourage our citizens to take the COVID-19 vaccine, which is safe and very effective. Of the 18,396 new cases since the vaccine becoming available in Lake Cumberland Area, almost 94.68% were unvaccinated.

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

We are still recruiting people to join our Pulaski County Extension Homemakers. Dues are $11 each year, and with your membership you receive a Southern Living Cookbook and an apple corer/slicer. Contact the Pulaski County Extension Office for more information.

There is still room available for anyone that would like to paint a wooden barn quilt painting to hang on your barn, garage or other outside buildings. The class will be held at the Pulaski County Extension Office on Wednesday, September 29 starting at 10:00 o'clock. The cost is $30 and includes everything you need to paint your barn quilt pattern. You must pay and register in advance at the Extension Office. Only 10 people will be accepted.

Our local Lake Cumberland Farmers Market is opened only on Saturdays now. The market is opened from 8:00 to 2:00. If you have Farmers Market Food Vouchers, you need to be spending those now. These vouchers are only good for this year at the Farmers Market and can only be spent on fresh produce. If you need recipes, canning recipes, or help with your food preservation, check with the Pulaski County Extension Office, or the table at the Farmers Market. Woodstock Community Center has a produce market each Saturday 8:00 to 12:00. It is free to set up. Please shop with your local farmers.

You will find watermelons, squash and zucchini, cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, some green beans, corn, fresh eggs and meat, plus popcorn, and canned goods at the market. Fresh baked goods, candles, wood products, and a variety of crafts are also available to you at the Lake Cumberland Farmers Market.

Probably everyone loves watermelon. But what else can you do with that huge watermelon after you have eaten all you want? Here is a recipe you will enjoy with some of the left-over watermelon

Watermelon Salad

2 heaping cups cubed watermelon

1 cup cubed or crumbled feta cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or basil leaves

1 tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

pinch kosher salt

Put all the ingredients in the bowl and toss gently. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to overnight (if you want to serve it later, keep the feta cheese out and add it just before serving). How much is a "heaping cup?" A cup running over with watermelon.

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