Early detection of some diseases and infections can be curable. Cancer is one of such diseases. The spate of cancer cases are becoming alarming. In worst cases, it is untreatable because of the late diagnosis. Cancer is a disease that if detected on time, may be treatable.
One of the types of cancer that affects women is the Ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is one of the killer cancer diseases that affects women. Ovarian cancer begins in the ovaries. An ovary is one of two small, almond-shaped organs located on each side of the uterus that store eggs, or germ cells, and produce female hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Ovarian cancer is a disease in which, depending on the type and stage of the disease, malignant (cancerous) cells are found inside, near, or on the outer layer of the ovaries. Ovarian cancer occurs when cells in one or both ovaries proliferate out of control.
Ovarian cancer can affect women of all ages, but women who are above 40 seems to be susceptible to ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer often spreads early. Because it grows in the tissues covering the ovaries, it can spread easily within the abdominal cavity to the bowels andbladder or the abdominal lining. From there it may travel to other organs in the body, such as the liver or lungs.
Types & risk factors
There are three main types of ovarian tumors. The most common type, epithelial tumors, happens to the cells on the surface of the ovary, The other type consists of sex cord-stromal ovarian tumors, which occur in the ovary cells that release female hormones.
Similarly, fertility medications that cause women to ovulate more frequently have been implicated as a risk factor for the disease,
- a family history of ovarian cancer.
- genetic mutations of genes associated with ovarian cancer.
- a personal history of breast, uterine, or colon cancer.
- the use of certain fertility drugs or hormone therapies.
Symptoms of ovarian cancer
Basically, women with ovarian cancer have no symptoms or may have mild symptoms until the disease reached an advanced stage and become hard to treat.
Ovarian cancer patients may experience any of the following symptoms.
- Abdominal bloating, indigestion or nausea
- Pelvic or abdominal pain.
- Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)
- Changes in appetite, such as a loss of appetite or feeling full sooner.
- Changes in bowel movements.
- Tiredness or low energy.
- Changes in menstruation.
Diagnosis for ovarian cancer
There is currently no approved screening test available for reliably detecting ovarian cancer. If a woman complain of feeling symptoms of ovarian cancer, the doctor may perform a pelvic or abdominal exam to see whether a mass or lump is present. An ultrasound or CT scan can also help determine whether the patient has an unexplained ovarian growth.
If there is a mass present, the doctor may order a CA125 test, which screens for a tumor-associated protein present in the blood.
If the above tests do not rule out ovarian cancer, doctors would then proceed to do a laparotomy, which is a slightly less invasive surgical procedure, according to the Mayo Clinic. The surgeon may remove a tissue mass or abdominal fluid to determine whether there’s a cancerous growth.
A pap test may be an effective way to screen for cervical cancer, but it does not screen for ovarian cancer.
The 2 tests used most often to screen for ovarian cancer are transvaginal ultrasound (TVUS) and the CA-125 blood test. TVUS is a test that uses sound waves to look at the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries by putting an ultrasound wand into the vagina.
Treatment & medication for ovarian cancer
The treatments for ovarian cancer can include surgery and other medications. During surgery, where the tumor is much and the affected tissues are removed. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy may also halt cancer progression by killing the cancer cells. These treatments could be administered before or after surgery.