The State Department of Health is taking steps to increase awareness about ovarian cancer. Debi Becker, with the Department’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Project, says that while the number of detected cases is relatively small, the disease is often fatal. Becker says part of the problem is a failure to diagnose ovarian cancer early on. She says this is because many of the symptoms – things like weight loss or gain – are vague. Becker points out any woman with a family history of gynecological problems might be at greater risk and should discuss the matter with her doctor. About 480 Missouri women contract ovarian cancer every year. Of that number, about 300 die. Becker says heredity appears to be a factor in women being at risk. She adds lifestyle does not appear to be much of a risk factor.