is a type of cancer that originates in the ovaries, which are the female reproductive organs responsible for producing eggs and hormones. It is the fifth most common cause of cancer-related deaths among women.
The exact cause of ovarian cancer is unknown, but several risk factors have been identified:
Age: The risk of developing ovarian cancer increases as a woman gets older, with the majority of cases occurring after menopause.
Family history: Having a family history of ovarian, breast, or colorectal cancer increases the risk. Some inherited gene mutations, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, are associated with a higher risk of ovarian cancer.
Personal history of certain cancers: Women who have had breast, uterine, or colorectal cancer have a slightly higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Hormonal factors: Factors that increase the number of times a woman ovulates, such as starting menstruation early or entering menopause late, may increase the risk.
Endometriosis: Women with endometriosis, a condition where the tissue lining the uterus grows outside the uterus, may have an increased risk.
Ovarian cancer often does not cause noticeable symptoms in the early stages. As the disease progresses, the following symptoms may occur:
Abdominal bloating or swelling.
Pelvic pain or discomfort.
Feeling full quickly or having difficulty eating.
Changes in bowel habits, such as constipation or diarrhea.
Increased frequency or urgency of urination.
Fatigue or unexplained weight loss.
It’s important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, and having these symptoms does not necessarily mean a person has ovarian cancer. However, if these symptoms are persistent and unusual for you, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation.
Diagnosing ovarian cancer typically involves the following:
Pelvic examination: The doctor examines the ovaries and other pelvic organs for abnormalities.
Imaging tests: Transvaginal ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI may be used to visualize the ovaries and assess the extent of the disease.
Blood tests: Blood tests, including the CA-125 test, can measure the levels of certain proteins that may be elevated in ovarian cancer.
Biopsy: A tissue sample is taken from the ovaries or any suspicious areas for laboratory analysis to confirm the presence of cancer cells.
The treatment of ovarian cancer depends on the stage of the disease, overall health of the patient, and other factors. Treatment options may include:
Surgery: Surgery is often the primary treatment for ovarian cancer. It involves removing the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, and surrounding lymph nodes.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells or slow their growth. It may be administered before or after surgery and can be given intravenously or directly into the abdominal cavity (intraperitoneal chemotherapy).
Targeted therapy: Certain drugs target specific abnormalities in cancer cells to inhibit their growth.
Radiation therapy: In some cases, radiation therapy may be used to destroy cancer cells or relieve symptoms.