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Ovarian Cancer

Ovaries are two female reproductive glands that produce ova. They produce estrogen and progesterone. When the abnormal cells in the ovary begin to multiply and form a tumor, it’s ovarian cancer. Whereas, when this cancer begins to spread to other parts of the body, it’s called Metastatic Ovarian Cancer. There are three types of ovarian cancer:

  1. Epithelial tumors – they form in the layer of tissue outside the ovaries
  2. Stromal tumors – they grow in hormone-producing cells
  3. Germ cell tumors – they develop in the egg-producing cells

Causes of Ovarian Cancer

  • Family history of ovarian cancer
  • No history of pregnancy
  • Personal history of breast, colon, or uterine cancer
  • Obesity
  • Use of hormone therapies
  • Genetic mutations

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

  • Abdominal bloating and pain
  • Difficulty eating
  • Frequent urination
  • Abnormal fullness after eating
  • Fatigue
  • Indigestion
  • Constipation
  • Menstrual Irregularities
  • Back pain
  • Painful intercourse

Prevention of Ovarian Cancer

  • Oral contraception – Studies show that women who take oral contraception are at a lower risk of ovarian cancer
  • Avoid carcinogens – Certain substances found in talcum powders, vaginal deodorants, and makeup can increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer
  • Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding – Women who have birthed at least one child and have breastfed the baby have a lower risk of developing ovarian cancer

Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer

  • Pelvic exam – The doctor inserts gloved fingers into the vagina and presses the abdomen with the other hand to feel your pelvic organs. They also examine the external genitalia to look for abnormalities
  • Imaging Tests – Tests like ultrasound, CT scans of the abdomen and pelvis  may help the doctor determine the size
  • Surgery – Sometimes the doctor can’t be certain of the diagnosis and may ask you to undergo surgery to remove an ovary and have it tested for cancer

Treatment of Ovarian Cancer

  • Surgery – Depending on the size, location, and stage of cancer the surgeon might recommend the removal of one or both the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, and nearby lymph nodes
  • Chemotherapy – It is a drug treatment that uses chemicals to kill rapidly growing cancerous cells. The drugs might be given orally or intravenously, however, sometimes they are also injected directly into the abdomen. It can also be used after the surgery to kill the remnant cells or before the surgery to shrink the tumor
  • Targeted Therapy – This therapy uses specific medications that aim at the cancerous cells. This procedure is usually used for treating cancer that has returned or the ones that resist other treatments