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
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
There are three main primary stages in ovarian cancer and one secondary stage which are as follows
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
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
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
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.
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
- Old age is another major cause of this cancer but, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t found in the younger generation.
Symptoms Of Ovarian Cancer
- 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
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)
Treatment Of Ovarian Cancer
Although there is no assured cure for cancer, there are methods which might slow down its growth.
- 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
- Hormone therapy
- 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.