What every woman should know about ovarian cancer

By: The Guardian Express

Ovarian Cancer it forms in tissues of the ovary (one of a pair of female reproductive glands in which the ova, or eggs, are formed). Most ovarian cancers are either ovarian epithelial carcinomas (cancer that begins in the cells on the surface of the ovary) or malignant germ cell tumors (cancer that begins in egg cells). Estimated new cases and deaths from ovarian cancer in the United States in 2012. Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer disease among women and also it causes more deaths than any other type of female reproductive cancer.

The cause is unknown and the risk of developing ovarian cancer appears to be affected by several factors. The more children a woman has, and the earliest she gives birth minimizes the risk of obtaining ovarian cancer. Women with a previous history of breast or ovarian cancer in her family have a bigger risk for ovarian cancer.

Also women who take estrogen replacement for more than 5 years have a higher risk of ovarian cancer. Birth control pills however decrease the risk. Older women also have a high risk of developing ovarian cancer.

Symptoms

Even though ovarian cancer symptoms can be vague. Doctors blame the symptoms on other, more common conditions, and by the time the cancer is diagnosed, the tumor has often spread beyond the ovaries.

If you have any of this symptoms make sure you see a doctor.

• Bloating or swollen on the belly area.
• Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly.
• Pelvic or lower abdominal pain.

Other common symptoms even though these symptoms are common in women who do not have ovarian cancer

• Abnormal menstrual cycles
• Digestive Symptoms: constipation, increased gas, indigestion, lack of appetite, nausea and vomiting.
• Increase of unexplained back pains.
• Vaginal bleeding in between periods.
• Weigh gain or loss.
• Excessive hair growth.
• Sudden urge to urinate.
• Need to urinate more that usual.

Signs and Tests

A physical examination is mostly normal, however it may reveal a swollen belly area and fluid in the area call ascites. A pelvic examination may reveal an ovarian abdominal mass, and a CA-125 blood test in is not considered a good screening for ovarian cancer. Surgery such as a pelvic laparoscopy or exploratory laparotomy may be done to evaluate the symptoms and a biopsy will help to make the diagnosis.

Treatment

Surgery is use to treat the stages of ovarian cancer, for earlier stages it may be the only treatment. Surgery involves:

• Removal of the uterus
• Removal of both ovaries and fallopian tubes.
• Partial or complete removal of the omentum.
• Examination, biopsy, or removal of the lymph node and other tissues in the pelvis and abdomen.

Patients should have a chemotherapy, a physical exam every 2-4 months for the first 2 years, followed by every 6 months for 3 years, and finally annually.

Prevention

• Changing lifestyle or eating habits.
• Avoiding things known to cause cancer.
• Taking medicines to treat a precarious condition or to keep cancer from starting.

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