Cancer, ovarian

Other names: Ovarian cancer

DEFINITION

Ovarian cancer is a type of Cancer that begins in the ovaries. Women have two ovaries, one on each side of the uterus. The ovaries — each about the size of an almond — produce eggs (ova) as well as the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Ovarian cancer often goes undetected until it has spread within the pelvis and abdomen. At this late stage, Ovarian cancer is more difficult to treat and is frequently fatal. Early-stage Ovarian cancer, in which the disease is confined to the ovary, is more likely to be treated successfully. Surgery and chemotherapy are generally used to treat Ovarian cancer.

SYMPTOMS

Early-stage Ovarian cancer rarely causes any symptoms. Advanced-stage Ovarian cancer may cause few and nonspecific symptoms that are often mistaken for more common benign conditions, such as Constipation or irritable bowel. Signs and symptoms of Ovarian cancer may include:

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you. If you have a family history of Ovarian cancer or Breast cancer, talk to your doctor about your risk of Ovarian cancer.

CAUSES

It's not clear what causes Ovarian cancer. In general, Cancer begins when a genetic mutation turns normal cells into abnormal Cancer cells. Cancer cells quickly multiply, forming a mass (Tumor). They can invade nearby tissues and break off from an initial Tumor to spread elsewhere in the body (metastasize).

Types of Ovarian cancer 1. Epithelial Tumors 2. Stromal Tumors 3. Germ cell tumors

RISK FACTORS

Certain factors may increase your risk of Ovarian cancer:

PREPARING FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT

Start by making an appointment with your family doctor, general practitioner or a gynecologist if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you.

TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS

Your doctor is likely to start with a pelvic examination, imaging tests, blood test, and surgery to diagnose and stage Ovarian cancer.

TREATMENTS AND DRUGS

Treatment of Ovarian cancer usually involves a combination of surgery and chemotherapy.

LIFESTYLE AND HOME REMEDIES

There's no sure way to prevent Ovarian cancer. But certain factors are associated with lower risk.

COPING AND SUPPORT

A diagnosis of Ovarian cancer can be extremely challenging. Seek support from friends, family, or support groups.


QUESTIONS

  1. What are some common symptoms of ovarian cancer?

Abdominal bloating or swelling, quickly feeling full when eating, weight loss, discomfort in the pelvis area, changes in bowel habits like constipation.

  1. What increases the risk of ovarian cancer?

Factors such as age, inherited gene mutations (BRCA1 and BRCA2), estrogen hormone replacement therapy, early start or late end of menstruation, never being pregnant, fertility treatment, smoking, use of an intrauterine device, and polycystic ovary syndrome.

  1. How is ovarian cancer diagnosed?

Diagnosis involves pelvic examination, imaging tests like ultrasound or CT scans, blood tests for CA 125 protein found on ovarian cancer cells' surface, and sometimes surgery for tissue sample confirmation.

  1. What are the stages of ovarian cancer?

Stages include Stage I (found in one or both ovaries), Stage II (spread to other parts of the pelvis), Stage III (spread to the abdomen), and Stage IV (found outside the abdomen).

  1. What treatments are commonly used for ovarian cancer?

Treatment usually involves surgery to remove affected organs followed by chemotherapy to kill remaining cancer cells.

  1. Are there lifestyle factors associated with a lower risk of ovarian cancer?

Factors like using oral contraceptives for more than 10 years, previous pregnancy history including breastfeeding and daily aspirin use are linked with lower risk.

  1. How can one cope with an ovarian cancer diagnosis?

Seeking support from friends, family members, joining support groups for survivors' families can help cope with the challenges posed by ovarian cancer diagnosis.

  1. What type of tumors can cause ovarian cancer?

Epithelial tumors (90% cases), stromal tumors (7% cases), and germ cell tumors can lead to ovarian cancers.

  1. When should one consult a doctor regarding possible symptoms of ovarian cancer?

It is recommended to consult a doctor if experiencing signs or symptoms that cause concern.

  1. What role do genetic mutations play in ovarian cancers?

Inherited gene mutations like BRCA1, BRCA2 increase the risk of developing ovarian cancers along with breast cancers; Lynch syndrome gene mutations also elevate ovarian cancer risk.