ovarian cancer overview

Do you find yourself searching for facts about ovarian cancer?

Well here are a couple quick facts for you.

The ovaries belong to the female reproductive system and produce eggs each month during the reproductive years of a woman. You will find that they are located on either side of the woman’s lower abdomen. Ovarian cancer occurs when the cells in the ovary divide and grow in an uncontrollable fashion. The cells may form a tumor on the woman’s ovary or the cells may even break off from the main body and spread to other body parts.

What is the risk of a woman contacting ovarian cancer? It is about 1 in 67.

The risk of getting this type of cancer and dying from it is 1 in 95.

It is the eighth most common cause of cancer in women, excluding skin cancer. Wouldn’t it be well worth your while to be checked out every year whether you notice a problem or not? It would bring peace of mind if nothing else.

There is no way to control how crazily Ovarian cancer cells grow and multiply out of control. These out of control cells form a tumor depriving healthy surrounding cells of much-needed oxygen and nutrients that they require for survival and maximum function. An ovarian tumor can be in just one or in both of the ovaries. Not all tumors are malignant, but if they are that means that they can spread to other organs and tissues of the body which is a process called metastasis.

Ovarian cancer overview

There are 4 types of ovarian cancers: Epithelial, stromal, germ cell and metastatic tumors.

While testing for ovarian cancer other cell masses can be discovered that are non-cancerous such as abscesses, infections, fibroids, cysts, polycystic ovaries, endometriosis related masses, and also ectopic pregnancies.

Roughly 80% of all ovarian cancers are epithelial in nature and are the most commonly found in menopausal women.

In 10% of ovarian cancer cases, stromal tumors may occur. Surgical removal of the affected ovary is usually all the treatment that is needed unless the cancer has spread.

Tumors that develop from the cells that develop into the ova (the woman’s eggs) develop into germ cell tumors. This type of ovarian cancer usually results in infertility in the woman.

Usually only 5% of ovarian cancers will spread to other body parts but when they do spread most of the time the cancer spreads to the colon, breast, stomach or pancreas.

If a woman’s mother, sister or daughter has ovarian cancer than she has a 5% risk of getting it too. If she has two close relatives (mother, sister, daughter) with ovarian cancer she then has a 50% risk of getting the disease.

There are many risk factors a woman may have for ovarian cancer besides family history including exposure to asbestos, exposure of the genitals to talc, certain virus exposure like that of mumps, being of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, or of European (white) heritage, having used fertility drugs without a successful pregnancy, age greater than 50 years and women who have never had any children.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer

The first symptoms in thinking that something may be wrong are similar to indigestion and gastrointestinal illness. This makes the diseases hard to diagnose. Due to this fact, many women are not diagnosed until the ovarian cancer has already made headway.

Sign and various symptoms that may suggest ovarian cancer are:

  • general abdominal discomfort, pain
  • diarrhea, nausea, constipation and frequent urination
  • the loss of one’s appetite
  • feeling full even only after eating a light meal
  • weight loss or gain for no known reason
  • abnormal bleeding from the vaginal area may occur as a late symptom

Risk factors for ovarian cancer

There are no known causes for ovarian cancer. However, certain studies show that an increased risk of the disease of the following may increase the chance of getting this disease:

  • Family history – If your mother, daughter or sister has had the disease, you are at greater risk of getting ovarian cancer.
  • Age – Most ovarian cancers will occur in women who are over 50 years of age. The highest risk comes in women who are over 60.
  • Non-childbearing – Women who have never experienced the miracle of birth. The fact is, the more children a woman has, the less likely it is that she will develop ovarian cancer.
  • Personal history – Those women who have had colon or breast cancer may find themselves at greater risk.
  • Obesity – Obese women experience a higher death rate from ovarian cancer.
  • Fertility drugs – These may slightly increase a woman’s risk to ovarian cancer.

ovarian cancer treament

Treatment of ovarian cancer

There are various types of treatment for ovarian cancer consisting of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. There is local therapy, which consists of surgery and radiation therapy. The local treatment removes or destroys the cancer. Local therapy can be used to destroy cancer in specific body parts.

Intraperitoneal chemotherapy uses a thin tube to deliver the chemotherapy to the abdomen and pelvis.

The physician uses Systemic chemotherapy to destroy or control cancer throughout the body. This is injected into a vein or delivered orally.

Side effects are common no matter which type of treatment is used because the treatments destroy not just the cancer cells but healthy cells as well. The severity and kind of side effect will depend on the kind and on the length of treatment. Not everyone who receives the same treatment will experience the same side effects.

I hope that these basic facts about ovarian cancer were useful to you.

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