Cancer is a severe disease that occurs when certain abnormal cells within the body begin to divide and continue to do so until they have spread throughout other areas of the body. As these abnormal cells spread, they will destroy surrounding body tissues. One of the more common forms of cancer that solely affects women is ovarian cancer.
In most cases, there are no discernible symptoms of ovarian cancer during its earliest stages. To obtain treatment for this cancer before it spreads too much, it’s important that you’re aware of what ovarian cancer is and how you can detect its symptoms.
As the name implies, this is a type of cancer that develops within the ovaries. There is an ovary on both sides of the uterus. This cancer can develop in either one of the ovaries. These areas of your body are designed to crate eggs along with such hormones as progesterone and estrogen. Among the most problematic aspects of ovarian cancer is that it can be very difficult to detect until it begins to spread, after which it’s more difficult to treat. If you want to heighten your chances of detecting the cancer before it becomes too severe to effectively treat, it’s highly recommended that you undergo somewhat regular screening tests for ovarian cancer.
While screening tests for ovarian cancer have yet to become as reliable as mammograms for the detection of breast cancer, there are two tests that have proven to be relatively effective at detecting ovarian cancer. These tests include the TVUS test and the CA-125 blood test. A TVUS test is able to detect any type of mass that’s located in the ovary. However, it’s unable to discern between a benign mass and a cancerous mass, which means that additional tests will still be necessary once the mass has been identified. If you are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, you will likely be provided with a combination of chemotherapy and surgery, the latter of which is aimed at removing the tumor altogether.
The symptoms that you experience when suffering from ovarian cancer depend on how far the cancer has progressed. If you have just recently developed this type of cancer, it’s unlikely that you will experience any notable symptoms while the cancer is still constricted to your ovaries. It’s also important to understand that this cancer doesn’t usually produce many symptoms even at its later stages, which is why it’s essential that you’re on the lookout for the primary symptoms of this cancer if you want to detect it in time. Some of the main symptoms that will typically occur with ovarian cancer include:
When you look through this list of symptoms, you’ll likely notice that most of them seem normal in comparison to symptoms of other cancers such as breast cancer. Each of these symptoms can occur with many other health conditions and diseases, which is why it’s important that you look for multiple symptoms.
When affected by ovarian cancer, the symptoms that you go through will typically be more persistent and long-lasting than usual. If you experience any of these symptoms more than a dozen times per month, make sure that you visit your doctor to determine what may be causing these issues. You should also make an appointment with your doctor if you have a family history of this type of cancer.
As with most types of cancer, there are no discernible causes for ovarian cancer. On the other hand, there are factors that can increase your risk of being affected by this disease. There are three types of ovarian cancer that you could develop, which include stromal tumors, germ cell tumors, and epithelial tumors. Stromal tumors usually take root within the ovarian tissue that consists of the cells necessary for producing hormones.
If you develop a stromal tumor, these are usually easier to detect within their early stages than other forms of ovarian cancer. A germ cell tumor is considered to be a rare type of ovarian cancer that mainly affects younger women and begins within the cells that produce eggs. In comparison, epithelial tumors comprise around 90 percent of all ovarian cancers. These tumors form within a very thin layer of tissue that’s located outside of the ovaries.
In order to determine whether or not you may be at risk of developing ovarian cancer, you should know about the various risk factors that heighten this possibility. While ovarian cancer can develop at practically any age, it’s most common in women who are between the ages of 50-60. If you have at least two close family members who have suffered from ovarian cancer in the past, you will have a higher risk of contracting it in the future.
A very small amount of these cancers are also caused by an inherited gene mutation that you can inherit from your one or both of your parents. These genes are known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, both of which can also increase your likelihood of developing breast cancer. If you have undergone estrogen hormone replacement therapy for a lengthy period of time or in larger doses, you might be at risk of developing this form of cancer.
The age at which you begin menstruation can also be a factor into whether or not you develop ovarian cancer. If menstruation begins at a much earlier age than is normal, you will have a higher risk of being affected by ovarian cancer. The same is true if you begin menopause at an older age than is normal. If you determine that you’re at risk of developing ovarian cancer, it’s impossible to fully prevent this disease from occurring. However, there are a couple of steps that you can take to lessen your chances of being affected by this cancer.
For one, you might want to consider taking birth control pills if your doctor believes that doing so is right for you. Women who use birth control pills are believed to have a reduced risk of ovarian cancer. You should also have a discussion with your doctor about the risk factors that apply to you. After some testing with a genetic counselor, you may find that having your ovaries removed before cancer develops is the best option available to you.
Once you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, a comprehensive treatment plan will be created for you. The main surgical operations that can be used to get rid of the cancer include a procedure to remove one or both ovaries, a procedure that removes both ovaries as well as the uterus, and a procedure that’s aimed at treating advanced forms of ovarian cancer. If the cancer has spread to other areas of your body, chemotherapy will likely be administered before a procedure is administered to remove some or all of the cancer.
Chemotherapy involves taking a strong medication through an injection or by mouth. Chemotherapy is typically used after surgery to eliminate any of the remaining cancer cells. It can also be provided before surgery if the cancer has spread. Chemotherapy comes with numerous side effects, which is why it’s important that you speak with your doctor about these treatments before you obtain them.