Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is often termed as ‘The Silent Killer’ since it doesn’t come out until it’s at the final stage. This cancer doesn’t have any severe symptoms, which makes it difficult to recognize it during the early stages. Although if you do manage to find it in its early stages, your chances remain slim as, according to the American Cancer Society, only 20-30% women diagnosed with ovarian cancer have been found to live for over five years.

Out of 10 women with ovarian cancer, only 2 or 3 are able to make it out alive. Since the symptoms of this cancer are few and far between, it is always advisable to go for regular checkups to be on the safe side.

Types Of Ovarian Cancer

Image: Epi Genetics Literacy Project

1. Epithelial Tumors:

Nearly 90% of ovarian cancer found in women, is due to this tumor. This particular tumor develops in the tissues outside the ovaries.

2. Stromal Tumors:

Although a smaller amount, when compared to epithelial tumors, stromal tumors at 7% are also equally dangerous, forming in the hormone-producing cells.

3. Germ Cell Tumors:

This is the rarest form of tumor that can be found, which forms in egg-producing cells.

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Stages Of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian Cancer
Image: National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

There are three main primary stages in ovarian cancer and one secondary stage which are as follows

Stage 1:

This stage is further divided into three sub-stages

Stage 1A is where the cancer is only limited to one ovary

Stage 1B is where both the ovaries carry the cancer

In stage 1C, cancer has also spread outside of the ovaries

Stage 2:

This is the stage where cancer has spread to pelvic structures like

2A- Has spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes

2B- has spread to the bladder or rectum

Stage 3:

This third stage is further divided into 3 sub-stages

3A- cancer has spread beyond the pelvis and into the lining of the abdomen and lymph nodes

3B- cancer can be found outside of the spleen or liver

3C- At least ¾ of an inch of cancer can be seen on the abdomen or outside of spleen or liver. However, this doesn’t mean that cancer has spread to the spleen or liver

Stage 4:

In this stage, cancer has spread beyond the pelvic region, abdomen and even the lymph nodes; into the liver or lungs

4A- Cancer cells can be found in the fluid around the lungs

4B- This is the advanced stage where cancer has spread inside the spleen or liver and sometimes even crucial organs like skin and brain.

Risk Factors

Ovarian Cancer
Image: Yahoo

The following are the most common causes of ovarian cancer:

  • Ovarian cancer can be transferred to you from your ancestors through hereditary
  • Any kind of cancer such as breast, uterus or colon cancer in your genes
  • Obesity
  • Old age is another major cause of this cancer but, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t found in the younger generation.

Also Read: Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2016 – Celebrity Survivors

Symptoms Of Ovarian Cancer

Image: ABC
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased urination or even the urge to urinate
  • Bloating or pain of the abdomen
  • Frequent constipation
  • Back pain with menstrual irregularities
  • High frequency of fatigue

However, this does not mean that every person experiencing these symptoms is suffering from ovarian cancer. But, it is advised to take proper care and to consult your doctor

Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis

Ovarian Cancer
Image: Moffitt

Although ovarian cancer is not easily diagnosed, it is always advisable to visit the doctor even if you slightly doubt its presence. The doctor might ask you to get a pelvic test. The following tests could be prescribed by your doctor for a detailed analysis

  • Transvaginal Ultrasound (TVUS)
  • Pelvic CT scan or MRI
  • Test to measure the levels of Cancer Antigen 125 (CA-125)
  • Biopsy

Treatment Of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian Cancer
Image: Very Well

Although there is no assured cure for cancer, there are methods which might slow down its growth.

  1. Chemotherapy– It is the most commonly used method to treat any cancer by sending radiations into the person’s body, especially near the affected area
  2. Hormone therapy
  3. Surgery– With the help of surgery, the affected part is removed. In the case of ovarian cancer, this is the best method of treating it. Most often the whole uterus is removed.

Ovarian Cancer