is the second most common type of female reproductive cancer. It can be found among young girls and women in their fertile or reproductive years, but is most commonly found among women between the ages of 40-60 years. It develops due to the formation of cancer cells within the ovaries.
Causes and Risk Factors of Ovarian Cancer
The exact causes of ovarian cancer is still unknown, but existing research has identified a number of risk factors:
- A family history of ovarian cancer, especially among a mother, siblings, or daughters
- Being 50 years or older
- Early menstruation; if the patient had her first period before the age of 12
- If the patient has never been pregnant or has never given birth
- If the patient had given birth to her first child after age 30
- If the patient reached menopause age 55
- If the patient has a history of breast cancer or bowel cancer
Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
In its early stages, ovarian cancer may not produce any symptoms. However, consult a doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Abdominal or pelvic pain
- Difficulty eating, indigestion, or stomach pain
- Feeling full quickly, even after only eating a small amount
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Frequent urination
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
Treating Ovarian Cancer
Choosing a type of treatment for ovarian cancer depends on many factors, such as the stage of the tumor. A specialist doctor will determine which type of treatment is most appropriate for each patient. Treatment for ovarian cancer may include:
- Surgery: If the patient's tumor is small and has not yet spread to other areas, the doctor will consider surgical treatment in order to remove the tumor and the surrounding tissue. The doctor may also remove the lymph glands from near the site of the tumor.
- Chemotherapy: This involves using medication to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy medicines can be administered in several different ways, including oral medication, subcutaneous injection, or IV (intravenous chemotherapy). However, one side effect of chemotherapy is that it may destroy healthy cells as well.
- Radiation Therapy: This involves using radiation to destroy cancer cells and reduce the size of the patient's tumor. Radiation therapy may be given as either external radiation or internal radiation.
Preventing Ovarian Cancer
There are no specific ways to prevent ovarian cancer, as the exact cause of the condition is still unknown. Moreover, early stage ovarian cancer usually has no symptoms, so the best way to prevent it from developing is to simply watch for any physical abnormalities. It’s important to go in for check-ups, internal screenings, and a pelvic ultrasound scan at least once per year to check for lumps in the pelvic cavity.