Ovarian cancer is common cancer amongst women. It usually begins at the ovaries. There are two ovaries present in a female reproductive system, one on either side of the uterus. You can think of ovaries as the size of the almonds. They produce eggs, i.e., the ova and two reproductive hormones, that are progesterone and estrogen. Unfortunately, ovarian cancer goes undetected for a long time. It is also because the symptoms start only when cancer has spread to the abdomen and the pelvis. Sadly, when the cancer is in its later stage, it is hard to treat. On the other hand, ovarian cancer in its early stages is confined primarily to the ovary. At this time, the treatment is generally successful.
Symptoms of ovarian cancer
In the early stages, ovarian cancer rarely produces any symptoms. Even if there are any early-stage symptoms, they are the usual symptoms, which females generally experience, says Ria, a tutor with TFTH who recently had a family member detected with cancer recently. Well, that is true for the advanced stages of ovarian cancer too. While the patient is in the advanced stages, there might still be a few and non-specific symptoms, which might be dismissed to be other benign conditions.
Some of the common signs of ovarian cancer are:
- Abdominal swelling
- Abdominal bloating
- Incomprehensible weight loss
- Feeling full with just a small portion
- Feeling of discomfort constantly in the pelvis region.
- A frequent urge to pee
- Alteration in the bowel habits, such as constipation
When should you see a doctor?
You should quickly make an appointment with an expert if you experience any of the above symptoms. Further, if you have a history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer, you should discuss the risk of ovarian cancer, too, with your doctor. In this case, your doctor might refer you to a genetic counselor for analyzing for gene mutations, which aggravate your risk for ovarian cancer and breast cancer.
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As such, there is no clarity on the cause of ovarian cancer. However, the doctors have worked out a list of factors, which heighten the risk of ovarian cancer in some people. Generally, cancer starts when there is an erroneous mutation in the DNA of the cells.
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Because of this mutation, the cell tends to grow and multiply rapidly. As a result, it generates a tumor of abnormal cells. These unhealthy cells tend to live long after the healthy cells usually die. Over time, the cells invade the nearby tissues and break off from their initial tumor phase. It is when the tumor metastasizes and spreads everywhere around the body.
Types of ovarian cancer
The type of ovarian cancer you have typically depends on the type of cell where cancer originates. Some of the most common types of ovarian cancer which people experience are:
- Epithelial tumors
These are the tumors that emerge in the thin layer of the tissue, which covers the ovaries’ exterior. Approximately 90% of all cases of ovarian cancer belong to this category.
- Stromal tumors
This type of ovarian cancer emerges in the ovarian tissue, which has the hormone-yielding cells. Usually, this cancer is diagnosed while it is still in the earlier stages. However, it is not a common type of cancer, and only seven percent of all cases of ovarian cancer are of this type.
- Germ cell tumors
These begin in the ovarian cells that are responsible for egg production. It is a rare type of ovarian cancer and usually is common in younger girls.
Some of the key factors that increase your risk of developing ovarian cancer are:
Usually, ovarian cancer is prevalent in women between the ages of 50 to 60 years. Kiara, who offers the do my finance homework services online, says that as her grandmother had ovarian cancer, they regularly get their mother screened for cancer after she turned 50. Well, yes, precaution is the key.
Inherited gene mutation
A minor percentage of ovarian cancer is caused as a result of gene mutations. It is a situation wherein you inherit a faulty gene from your parents. This gene aggravates your risk of ovarian cancer. It is known as the breast cancer gene 1 and the breast cancer gene 2, that is, BRCA1 and BRCA2. Naturally, these genes also increase your risk of developing breast cancer. Moreover, gene mutations associated with Lynch syndrome also heighten your risk of developing ovarian cancer.
If two or more people in your family have had ovarian cancer (it includes close relatives – mother or daughter or sister), then you, too, are at an increased risk.
Menstruation and menopause
Women who tend to have menstruation at an early age and those who have menopause at a later age are at an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Estrogen hormone replacement therapy
If you have exposed yourself to estrogen hormone replacement therapy for many years or have been taking them in large doses, your risk of ovarian cancer is higher.
Awareness of these risk factors and symptoms, and taking measures to keep yourself protected, and getting screened at regular intervals, can certainly help you keep ovarian cancer at bay.