September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

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Allison Ariail, PT, DPT, CLT-LAANA, BCB-PMD is one of the creators of the Herman & Wallace Oncology of the Pelvic Floor Course Series. Allison Ariail is a physical therapist who started working in oncology in 2007 when she became certified as a lymphatic therapist. She worked with breast cancer, lymphedema patients, head and neck cancer patients, and the overall oncology team to work with the whole patient to help them get better. When writing these courses, Allison was part of a knowledgeable team that included Amy Sides and Nicole Dugan among others.

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2023 about 19,710 individuals with ovaries will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer. About 13,270 individuals will lose their battle with the disease (1). Ovarian cancer is the deadliest of all gynecological cancers. However, the incidence rates have decreased by 1 to 2% each year from 1990 to the mid 2010s; and by 3% per year from 2015 to 2019 (1).

This is partially due to increased usage of oral contraceptives in the last half century, and the decreased usage of hormonal therapy in menopausal individuals (1). Researchers are continually looking to find ways to help fight ovarian cancer. From the use of new targeted therapies, to hormonal therapies, to surgeries; doctors and researchers are doing what
they can to try to prolong the lives of individuals who have this diagnosis.

Recently, it has been identified that the most common type of ovarian cancer starts in the cells of the fallopian tubes, not the ovary (2). It is now believed that fallopian tube lesions may be a precursor to high-grade serous ovarian
carcinomas (3). Additionally, there usually is a longer time between the development of a mutation to the development of lesions in the fallopian tubes, than from when it develops in the ovaries and metastasizes beyond.

The average time between a mutation and the development of a fallopian tube lesion is decades. The time between the development of fallopian tube lesions and ovarian cancer is 6.5 years. However, the average time between the development of ovarian cancer and metastasis is 2 years (3,4). This is important to understand. If lesions and mutations can be identified while they are still in the fallopian tube, this would allow diagnosis at an earlier stage, and could save lives. We now see that some surgeries such as tubal ligations, and hysterectomy reduce the risk for the development of ovarian cancer.

It is not recommended to have these surgeries to prevent cancer, but it is a does decrease the risk in some patients if they are undergoing one of these surgeries for a medical reason (5). We also are seeing emerging research on the development for biomarkers for fallopian tube mutations. It is exciting to see the development of new procedures and the emerging research to help identify screening tools to help treat this type of cancer.

To learn more about gynecological cancers and how we can use our skills to help these patients you can take Oncology and the Pelvic Floor Level 2B. This course is part of a series that covers cancers that effect the pelvic region. In Oncology and the Pelvic Floor Level 1 we cover general oncology, cancer treatment, short-term side effects, long-term side effects, and learn rehab techniques to help these patients. In Oncology and the Pelvic Floor Level 2A and Oncology and the Pelvic Floor Level 2B we go more in-depth with pelvic-related cancers. In Level 2A we cover topics related to testicular cancer, prostate cancer, penile cancer, and colorectal cancers while in Level 2B we cover topics related to gynecological cancers and bladder cancer. In all courses, you learn hands-on treatment techniques to help individuals recover function, and feel better.

Please join us by taking this series to be able to help these patients!

1. Erickson B, Conner M, Danden C. The role of fallopian tube in the origin of ovarian cancer. AJOG. 2013; 209(5): 409-414.
2. (n.d.). Ovarian, fallopian tube, and primary peritoneal cancer.
3. Shih-lM, Wang Y, Wang TL. The origin of ovarian cancer species and precancerous landscape. Amer. J of Path. 2021; 191 (1): 26-39.
4. Begun C. (2022, March 24). Mutation in fallopian tube lesions may help catch ovarian cancer years earlier. Penn Medicine News.
5. American Cancer Society. (2018, April 11). Can ovarian cancer be prevented?

OPF2B Cover

Oncology of the Pelvic Floor Level 2B - partner needed for registration.  This course was designed to build on the information that was presented in Oncology of the Pelvic Floor Level 1.


Price: $600.00          Experience Level: Intermediate          Contact Hours: 19.25 hours

Course Dates: December 9-10



Description: Information will be provided focusing on gynecological and bladder cancers including risk factors, diagnosis, and prognosis. The participant will also understand the sequelae of the medical treatment of cancer and how this can impact a patient’s body and quality of life. Other topics include rehabilitation and nutritional aspects focusing on these specific cancers, as well as home program options that patients can implement as an adjunct to therapy.

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