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Public health officials work to raise awareness of ovarian cancer

 The word cancer in a red no symbol
National Cancer Institute / Unsplash

1 in 78 women will develop ovarian cancer -- and many are not diagnosed until the later stages of the disease.

The Southern 7 Health Department and The Hope Light Foundation are working to educate women and healthcare providers about the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer.

Hope Light Foundation executive director Rudy Bess said education is critical because the symptoms include things like bloating and difficulty eating, which can be less obvious.

"There's no reliable screening test for ovarian cancer. The best defense is awareness, you have to know the signs and symptoms because it whispers, so listen. That's the big thing about ovarian cancer, everybody says. Just listen, because it whispers," he said.

Bess said women who have never had children are at higher risk, as are those with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer.

Steph Whiteside is a Digital Media News Specialist with WSIU radio in Carbondale, Ill. She previously worked as a general reporter at AJ+ and Current TV.
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