Women's Health

PLOS ONE

A new analysis led by Washington University has shown a possible link between exposure to certain common, long-lasting chemicals and the earlier onset of menopause.

The researchers analyzed information from 1,442 menopausal women who had been tested for what are known as endocrine disrupting chemicals -- chemicals that can affect how hormones work in the body. The data were collected between 1999 and 2008 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as part of a national health and nutrition study.

St. Louis Ovarian Cancer Awareness president Lisa Sienkiewicz stands next to the Kiener Fountain in downtown St. Louis, which has been dyed teal in honor of National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
Durrie Bouscaren / St. Louis Public Radio

To kick off National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, local organizers dyed the water in the Kiener Plaza Fountain in downtown St. Louis teal -- the trademark color of the awareness campaign.

Sometimes called the ‘silent killer,’ ovarian cancer can be difficult to recognize before it’s in an advanced stage.

The rate of survival is low: 20,593 American women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011. 14,346 women died, according to the Center for Disease Control. But treatments are most effective when the cancer is diagnosed in its earliest stages.