Ovarian cancer arises from the growth of abnormal cells in one or both ovaries, and epithelial cancer is the most common type.
Ovarian cancer can sometimes be cured when caught in its early stages, but in most cases, the cancer is not detected until it has reached an advanced stage.
It is best to talk to your doctor or join a support group to better deal with this problem.
Symptoms of ovarian cancer
Ovarian cancer generally does not cause any symptoms in the early stages of the disease, and symptoms begin to appear between 6-12 months before the disease is discovered, and include the following:
Gastrointestinal disorders such as: diarrhea and constipation.
Irritable bowel syndrome.
Since these symptoms are general, due to the involvement of many diseases in them, ovarian cancer is not detected until it is in the last stages.
Causes and risk factors for ovarian cancer
In fact, the causes of ovarian cancer are not yet known, and each has a set of risk factors that increase the risk of ovarian cancer, such as the following:
10-20% of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer have a family history of ovarian or breast cancer, and the age of affected women is relatively early, usually in their early 40s, rather than after menopause.
In addition, most women with mutations in the BRCA gene have a 16-60% increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Women who do not use condoms, or women who are unable to conceive due to fertility problems, have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Use of estrogen or hormonal therapy
Some specialists suggest that women who receive hormone therapy are more likely to develop ovarian cancer, while others suggest that the use of hormones does not increase the risk at all.
But in general, specialists recommend that women taking hormones to treat menopausal symptoms take the lowest possible dose and for the shortest period of time.
Polycystic ovary syndrome
Elevated levels of male hormones (androgens), which are generally seen in cases of polycystic ovary syndrome, increase the risk of ovarian cancer.
A history of breast cancer
Women with a personal or family history of breast cancer are more likely to develop ovarian cancer.
Advances in age, as most women are affected in the postmenopausal stage.
Women who have not given birth.
Women who start menstruating before the age of 12, as the risk of ovarian cancer increases with the number of menstrual cycles.
In addition, there are a number of other additional factors that still require more research to determine if they increase the risk of ovarian cancer, including the following:
Exposure to asbestos.
A history of endometriosis or an ovarian cyst.
Nutrition rich in lactose found in milk derivatives.
Complications of ovarian cancer
The patient may spread to other parts of the body, causing many serious complications, and in many cases the disease is not quickly diagnosed and treated.
Ovarian cancer diagnosis
Ovarian cancer is diagnosed in several ways, as follows:
Where the doctor performs a routine examination where he can feel a mass in or on the ovary.
In other cases, a mass can be seen on an ultrasound scan, and most of these masses are noncancerous.
A biopsy is the only way to confirm and definitively diagnose that a woman has ovarian cancer. The doctor makes an incision in the abdomen so that it can be seen inside, then removes a small piece of any tumor he finds and sends it to a lab to check if the tumor is cancerous or not.
Check for cancer antigen
A blood test to check for the presence of cancer antigen (CA-125) is usually done for women who are at risk of developing cancer.
So far, there is not enough evidence of the effectiveness of this test in detecting ovarian cancer in the early stages, as the high percentage of cancer antigen may be caused by several other factors, such as: menstruation, endometriosis, and uterine leiomyoma (uterus). ). fibroids) and other types of cancer.
Ovarian cancer treatment
Methods for treating ovarian cancer include:
Depending on the extent of the tumor, the doctor may remove the affected ovaries, and one or both ovaries may be removed, as well as the uterus in some cases.
Chemotherapy is used to kill rapidly growing cells, such as cancer cells, and is usually used after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells.
Treatment with drugs that target cancer cells
This type of treatment can be used in the event that the cancer does not respond to other treatments, after examining the cancer to determine the exact treatment that targets it.
This type of medication aims to relieve pain associated with cancer, especially after undergoing surgery or chemotherapy.