A pair of tiny organs in the female reproductive system is called ovaries. These release and contain egg once in a month, which is know as ovulation. Cancer in the ovaries spreads to various parts of the female reproductive system and also areas surrounding which includes stomach, vagina and womb.
How common are ovarian cancers,
Ovarian cancer is a common cancer and stands fourth after lung, bowel and breast cancer. Approximately about 7000 women are affected by ovarian cancer per year. It can occur at any age but often it is common amongst women above 65 years of age.
Ovarian cancer is also know as “silent killer” as the symptoms cannot be recognized and are similar to other conditions. Few early symptoms are: difficulty in eating, stomach and pelvis pain and bloating. It is important to be aware of the symptoms at an early stage. If it is detected in the “stage one” phase, women can live for five more years.
Different Types of ovarian cancer
several types of ovarian cancer are:
stromal ovarian cancer, which develops within the cells that hold the ovaries together.
epithelial ovarian cancer, which affects the surface layers of the ovary,
germ cell ovarian cancer, which originates in the cells that make the eggs,
Out of all the types of ovarian cancers mentioned above the Epithelial ovarian cancer is the most common. It is hard to determine the exact cause for ovarian cancer, there are many possibilities like amount of eggs released or anyone in the family having ovarian cancer. But only 20% of ovarian cancer cases have genetic link. A combination of radiotherapy and chemotherapy surgeries is required to treat ovarian cancer. There are few other methods for screening but are not tested fully.
Ovarian Cancer symptoms are very different and also go unrecognized especially during the initial stages. Many used to believe that this type of cancer doesn’t have any symptoms. With experience healthcare professionals can now point out the symptoms leading to ovarian cancer. Women often misunderstand the symptoms for other minor conditions like an premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
You need to consult your doctor if any of the below mentioned symptoms occur:
Early symptoms of ovarian cancer include:
- need to pass urine more urgently and frequently than normal
- difficulty eating, or feeling full very quickly,
- a full, bloated feeling in your stomach
- pain in your pelvis, lower stomach, or side,
Later symptoms may include:
- irregular periods
- pain during sex
- pain in your lower stomach
- swelling in your stomach,
Advanced symptoms may include:
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
The cells in particular areas of the body multiply and divide very rapidly causing cancer. However, causes are not yet determined for ovarian cancer, but studies are still on. As of now many causes have been recognized and the risk factor too. Few are listed below:
Risk and cause factors
Ovarian cancer is not heriditory. But this aspect cannot be ignored completely as it is an contributing factor as per some cases. Genes like BRCA2 & BRCA1increases risk of developing breaour relatst as well as ovarian cancer. These pass from one person to another in a family. You can be at a risk of ovarian cancer if any one of your relative had cancer at point like prostate, colon, breast and ovary. You canughter be at a high risk if any of your two close relative have ovarian cancer like daughter, sister and mother. In such cases you are screened for ovarian cancer or for the genes that develop it. Go through the ‘prevention section’ for information regarding screening.
Most of the cases are of women above 65 years of age usually after menopause. The chances increase with age.
Uninterrupted release of eggs from the ovaries
During ovulation, the ovary surface breaks open for egg to release into reproductive system. This causes cells present on the surface of ovary to divide and multiply to repair the damaged caused by breaking the egg. At times this process takes place very fast resulting abnormal cells called as tumour to form and eventually developing ovarian cancer. The more damaged is caused to the ovarian surface the chances are higher for abnormal cell process to repair it. The risks are higher with each time eggs are released. For example: If periods started at early age but menopause occurred at later age, more eggs are released resulting ovaries damage. This cannot be the only cause of ovarian cancer.