Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the ovaries of women. Ovaries are the small organs in the reproductive system of a female that produces eggs. This type of cancer might be hard to detect because it frequently does not cause any symptoms until later stages. Usually, this is because ovarian cancer symptoms are not visible in the early stages of the illness. They can also imitate common digestive and stomach issues that are often mistaken for minor diseases. Once a woman has ovarian cancer, it can be treated with chemotherapy and surgery to remove any tumors.
Ovarian cancer types include:
Stromal tumors: This begins in the ovarian tissue that has hormone-producing cells. These tumors are typically identified at an earlier stage than other ovarian tumors.
Epithelial tumors: This begins in the thin layer of tissue that covers the outside of the ovaries.
Germ cell tumors: This begins in the egg-producing cells. These uncommon ovarian cancers tend to befall younger women.
What Causes Ovarian Cancer?
It’s not clear what causes ovarian cancer. However, doctors have identified factors that increase the risk of this disease. In general, cancer starts when a cell develops mutations in its DNA. It tells the cell to develop and reproduce quickly. Wherein, it also creates a mass of abnormal cells. These abnormal cells remain alive when healthy cells will die. They can attack nearby tissues and separate from a primary tumor to spread elsewhere in the body.
Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
The most common signs and symptoms are:
- A need to urinate frequently or urgently
- Abdominal or pelvic pain
- Early satiety or difficulty eating
Less common symptoms may include:
- Menstrual changes
- Constipation or upset stomach
- Acid reflux
- Unusual belly swelling
- Weight loss
- Extreme tiredness
- Back pain
- Pain during sex
Women with persistent symptoms for more than several weeks or who notice a change in their ovarian health must consult a doctor. In advanced stages of ovarian cancer, an individual may experience gastrointestinal and other digestive disorders along with diarrhea, vomiting, or nausea.
Risk Factors of Having Ovarian Cancer
The following are the listed factors of getting the disease:
- The possibility of developing this disease gets higher with age. This disease is rare in women younger than 40. Most ovarian cancers start to develop after menopause.
- Obesity is known to be linked to a higher risk of developing many cancers. Obese women probably have a high risk of developing ovarian cancer but not certainly a serious type of cancer. Being obese may as well negatively affect the overall survival of a woman with ovarian cancer.
- Having children after the age of 35 or who never carried a pregnancy.
- Women using estrogens alone or with progesterone after menopause has an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer than those who have never used hormones.
- Ovarian cancer can run in families. Having a family history of ovarian cancer, colorectal cancer, and breast cancer can make your risk higher in developing this cancer.
We Care for Your Safety
Diet and Exercise: The risk of ovarian cancer decreases by maintaining a weekly exercise and healthy diet.
Oral Contraceptives: Women who have a history of taking contraceptives have a lower risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Healthy Lifestyle: Avoiding the use and exposure of tobacco products may not only lower the risk of this cancer but other types also. It is recommended to limit your alcohol consumption.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Women who have birthed at least one child before 30 years of age have a lower risk of developing ovarian cancer. Those who breastfeed their children also have a lower risk of developing this cancer.
Avoiding Carcinogens: These are a substance that is capable of causing cancer. Avoiding certain products that contain Carcinogens lowers the risk of developing ovarian cancer. Some of these products include vaginal deodorants, makeup, or baby powder.
Treating Ovarian Cancer
The treatment of ovarian cancer will depend on how far it has spread and your overall health. Most people have a combination of chemotherapy and surgery.
The goal of the treatment is to cure cancer. If the cancer is too advanced to be cured, the goal is to relieve the symptoms and control cancer for as long as possible.
Medications for Ovarian Cancer
Two medications can change the way cells works. It also helps to stop cancer from increasing and spreading: