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Ovarian Cancer

What is Ovarian Cancer?

Ovarian cancer is cancer of ovaries and very common nowadays in women. This cancer is due to abnormal cells in ovary and starts to multiply to form a tumor. There are two ovaries in a woman with one each side of the uterus. If not treated properly it starts to spread in other parts of the body and it can severely affect pelvis and abdomen.

 Ovaries are reproductive glands only in females and produce eggs which travel down the fallopian tube into the uterus where it may be fertilized by sperm. Ovaries also produce female reproductive hormones “Estrogen and Progesterone”

Ovarian cancer

Causes

Till now ovarian cancer causes are unknown. But it is largely believed that this cancer develops due to the error in the cells of DNA. This error creates a mass tumor of abnormal cells. Healthy cells die but these abnormal cells continue living. This tumor can spread in the body. Some percentage of it is due to gene mutations someone inherits from parents. Ovarian cancer risk gets higher with age. Most of it develops after menopause.

Types

Ovarian cancer types includes

  • Surface Epithelium cells
  • Germ cells
  • Stromal cells
  • Surface epithelium cells generate in the layer of tissues that cover outside the ovaries
  • Germ cells generate in egg-producing cells
  • Stromal cells generate in ovarian tissues that are hormone-producing cell

Symptoms

Most common ovarian cancer symptoms are

  • Back pain
  • Tiredness
  • Pain during intercourse (sex)
  • Feeling Full soon during eating
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Irregular periods (heavy bleeding or irregular bleeding)
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Persistent bloating is also one of the early symptoms. However, research suggests that almost two-thirds of the women having bloating just ignore it.

There may be more ovarian cancer signs and symptoms than mentioned above

Diagnosis

Ovarian cancer diagnosis involves different tests and procedures like

  • Blood Test
  • Laparoscopy
  • Imaging tests
  • Pelvic exam

Blood Test

Doctors often take blood to do an ovarian cancer blood test for tumor markers. A cancer analyzer (CA125) test can find a protein that can help your doctor to detect cancer.

Laparoscopy

In this process a thin tube with a camera at its one end inserted into the lower abdomen through a small in. It helps to see the condition of ovaries.

Imaging Tests

Ovarian cancer ultrasounds or CT scans of your abdomen can help your doctor to know the size, shape, and structure of your ovaries.

Pelvic exam

In this process, your doctor inserts gloved fingers into the vagina and press your abdomen to feel your pelvic organs. Ovarian cancer prognosis may include other process or tests depending on your doctor.

Stages

Once diagnosed then the next phase is to know its stage. By knowing its doctors can determine how much the cancer is spread in the body. Normally ovarian cancer stages are classified into 4 main stages.

Stage 1

It is ovarian cancer stage-1 if it is confined to the ovary fallopian tube.
1A cancer is confined to one ovary only
1B cancer affected both ovaries
1C cancer cells are found in both ovaries and start to spread out.

Stage 1A,1B,1C
Stage 2

Development of cancer in one or both ovaries with pelvic extension
2A spreading of cancer to the fallopian tube
2B Spreading of cancer to other pelvic organs
2C Cancer cells in the abdomen of fluid

Stage 3
2A,2B,2C

In ovarian cancer stage-3, both ovaries are affected and it has spread out beyond the pelvis
3A cancer cells are found in the upper abdomen
3B visible cancer is found in the abdomen but less than 2cm in size
3C visible cancer greater than 2cm in size

Stage 4

In this stage, the tumor has spread throughout the body. It is sometimes also called ovarian cancer metastasis.

Risk Factor

Ovarian cancer risk factors include

Age

There is no certain bracket for ovarian cancer age but women over 50 tend to have more chance.

Hormone Replace Therapy (HRT)

Women who have taken estrogen-only HRT after menopause may have the risk of ovarian or fallopian cancer.

Treatments

Ovarian cancer treatments are

Surgery

The doctor will perform surgery if only one or two ovaries and not the nearby areas are affected then doctors will prefer to remove the infected one. If cancer has affected that too and you don’t wish to get pregnant then the doctor will remove uterus too.

Chemotherapy

If your cancer is in advance stage then chemotherapy is the best recommendation. In this type of treatment, the doctor will use drugs that have the potential to kill cancer cells. The doctor may also recommend chemotherapy before or after surgery depending on the condition. 

 History

Risk increases if one of the family members has breast, colorectal or ovarian cancer. Moreover starting menstruation at an early age or starting menopause at a later stage or both may increase the risk of ovarian cancer.

Prevention

If you have any family history then you should regularly seek medical advice and must take clinical trials to study ways for prevention. Contraception as well as giving birth, breastfeeding, and tubal ligation are also protective factors.

When to see Doctor?

When you feel something wrong and found symptoms or ovarian cancer signs or you have a family history then you must immediately consult your doctor for ovarian cancer screening.

Survival Rate

If cancer found, treated properly but spread outside ovaries in body parts than ovarian cancer survival rate is normally 5 years. In stage 2 and 3 if cancer is spread outside the ovaries but sometimes can be treated with surgery. If cancer can’t be cured then the main aim is to control cancer to spread as long as possible

Recurrence

Ovarian cancer recurrence happens when some cancer cells are left behind and with the passage of time, it grows again. About 65-70 percent of patients diagnosed, have a recurrence.

Statistics

Ovarian cancer statistics (In U.S) are

  • It is 5th ranked in cancer deaths of women.
  • 1 out of 75 women has this type of cancer.
  • Half of the women diagnosed are above the age of 63
  • 1 out of 109 women diagnosed has a chance of dying.

Support

The color for the ovarian cancer ribbon is teal. People support friends or loved ones with teal bracelets, necklaces, shirts, hats or any other products for awareness. Moreover, Worldwide September is marked as ovarian cancer awareness month.

Recommendations

If you or someone closely related to you has been touched with cancer, there are online communities and support center to help you out. “Belong” is an app that gives cancer affected people and their families a solution to help fight and manage cancer.

Women who appeared to have a risk should undergo genetic counseling. And women who have substantial risk should undergo genetic testing of BRCA1 and BRCA2. Suffered women may go bilateral oophorectomy but after only BRCA1 and BRCA2 tests, .women should be aware that bilateral oophorectomy does not offer absolute protection.

Women with Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) or Lynch syndrome should undergo screening.

Teal Ribbon for ovarian cancer

FAQ’s

Is ovarian cancer hereditary ?

About 20-30 of percent cases are hereditary

Do this cancer pain ?

Yes, it can cause pain in legs, abdomen and significant lower back pain.

Is it curable?

Yes but it depends on the condition and stage,

How does this cancer start ?

By abnormal cell in ovaries

What is ovarian cancer icd 10 ?

It is an oncology reference code. It is further classified into different diagnosis code.

Who should take gene test ?

A woman having family history of breast and this kind of cancer should consider genetic testing.

What are the tests for detection?

There are some ovarian cancer tests including blood test, imaging test, laparoscopy and pelvic exam.

What are symptoms at an early stage ?

Well, it starts from pain in different parts and bloating, indigestion and fatigue.