Ovarian cancer is the most common and one of the deadliest types of cancer in women. Ovary cancers are difficult to diagnose because symptoms sometimes mimic other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, pelvis pain, indigestion, and bloating. There is not yet a reliable ovarian cancer screening test.
What is ovarian cancer?
Ovary cancer is a disease condition in which some of the body’s cells divide uncontrollably and reproductive spread throughout the body’s tissues. Ovarian tumor is a term used to describe a group of disorders affecting the ovaries.
It comes in a variety of forms. Although these disorders are all referred to as “types of ovarian” because they affect the ovaries, they are all distinct in terms of their source, appearance under a microscope, therapy, and prognosis.
Ovarian tumors are classified as benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). The cells of benign tumors do not metastasis, despite the fact that they are aberrant (spread to other parts of the body).
Furthermore, ovarian cysts are fluid-filled, whereas ovarian tumors are solid lumps. Although some complicated ovarian cysts may increase the chance of future ovarian cancer, most ovarian cysts are not hazardous, do not cause symptoms, and are not suggestive of future ovarian cancer risk.
Ovarian Cancer Symptoms and Signs
Ovarian cancer has symptoms, but they are typically mild and readily confused with other, more prevalent issues. Early-stage ovarian malignancies can create symptoms in rare circumstances, but they usually don’t show up until cancer has progressed (when the growth of the tumor triggers symptoms). According to researchers, ovarian cancer can cause the following symptoms:
- Pelvic or abdominal discomfort bloating
- Having a hard time eating or feeling full soon
- Symptoms of the urinary tract (urgency or frequency)
- If these symptoms last more than two weeks and are new or unusual for you, consult a gynecologist and inquire about ovarian cancer.
Women who have ovarian tumors say their symptoms last a long time and are out of the ordinary for their bodies. The frequency and several such symptoms are important in determining whether or not you have ovarian cancer. If you’ve had these symptoms for more than two weeks and they’re new or uncommon for you, see your doctor, ideally a gynecologist.
While understanding the symptoms is helpful in terms of speeding up the diagnosis, research has shown that symptom recognition alone is ineffective in detecting ovarian cancer early, and that earlier symptom detection may not affect the disease’s course or outcome. More research is needed to improve the detection of ovarian cancer and its treatment of it.
Ovarian Cancer signs That Aren’t So Common
Ovary tumor cancer patients frequently experience a variety of additional symptoms. These additional symptoms, on the other hand, are less beneficial in detecting ovary cyst cancer because they are also present in the general population who do not have ovarian cancer.
- Fatigue \ Indigestion
- Intercourse discomfort
- Inconsistent menstruation
Do The symptoms and indicators emerge suddenly?
While ovarian cancer can cause symptoms such as bloating, fullness, pelvic or abdominal discomfort, urinary symptoms, and other less frequent symptoms, there aren’t usually apparent symptoms in the early stages and, as previously said, symptoms that are present often resemble other diseases. That’s why, in addition to recognizing the symptoms, it’s critical to understand the risk factors, which include personal risk based on family history and genetic susceptibility. Consult your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms that are new and unusual for you and have persisted for more than two weeks.
FACTORS OF RISK
These factors are known to raise the chance of epithelial ovarian cancer, which is the most prevalent type of it:
As you get older, your risk increases. Women between the ages of 50 and 79 are more likely to get ovary cancer. Younger women, on the other hand, are susceptible.
If your family has a history of ovarian, breast, endometrial, or colorectal cancer, your risk is increased.
Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish women are at a higher risk.
If you have certain genetic alterations linked to the ovary, such as BRCA gene mutations, your risk is increased.
If you’ve had hormone replacement, your risk may be higher.
Lowering your chances
While the following measures may lower your overall risk of ovarian epithelial cancer, it’s important to consider the risks, consequences, and potential side effects they may entail. Also, keep in mind that while these measures may lower your overall risk, there are currently no steps you can take to completely prevent ovarian cancer.
Your tubes may be tied or you may get a hysterectomy.
The removal of your ovaries and ovarian fallopian tubes lowers your risk of ovarian cancer substantially. However, because a rarer type of the disease can develop in the peritoneal cavity lining, it does not eliminate all risks.
Breastfeeding and pregnancy
It is well understood that having more ovulatory cycles increases the risk of ovarian cancer while having fewer cycles (for example, during pregnancy and breastfeeding) lowers the risk.
The pill as a method of contraception
If taken for five years or more, the combined contraceptive pill is known to be almost half the risk of ovarian cancer developing.
Ovarian cancer and genetics
- Approximately 20–25 percent of women with an ovarian cancer diagnosis have a familial predisposition to the disease. Ten to fifteen percent of those instances are connected to a hereditary genetic mutation in one of two genes named BRCA1 and BRCA2. Both ovarian and breast cancer have been linked to these genes.
- BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations are more common in Eastern European women and women of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage.
- Individuals with a family history of ovarian, breast, or similar malignancies should consult with their doctor or primary health care provider to see if genetic counseling and testing are available.
Detection and testing
Ovaries cancer cannot be detected with a typical, easy screening test. Cervical screening (i.e., Pap smear) does not detect ovarian tumors, contrary to popular perception. Cervical screening is useful for detecting cervical cancer early, however, it is not an ovary cancer test.
That is why it is critical to be informed of the signs and symptoms of ovarian epithelial cancer.
Speak to your doctor if you have signs and ovarian cancer symptoms. The following steps can help you get a diagnosis:
- Pelvic examination
- CA-125 blood test (transvaginal or pelvic ultrasound)
- A CT scan or a PET scan may be used as part of the diagnostic process in specific circumstances. A biopsy is the only way to know for sure whether a patient has ovarian cancer.
Ovarian eggs cancer symptoms might be nonspecific and moderate in the early stages. If you have chronic bloating, pelvic pain, or pressure, if you feel full immediately after eating, or if you urinate more frequently or urgently, you should seek medical assistance.
Changes in bowel habits, pain during intercourse, back pain, unexpected weight loss, fluid in the belly, and exhaustion are all indications of later-stage ovarian cancer.
Other signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer include masculinization, irregular bleeding, early puberty, and severe pelvic pain. Another typical symptom of these tumors is a pelvic lump.
Bowel blockage, perforated colon, urinary difficulties, fluid in the lungs’ membranes, and bone discomfort are all possible complications of ovarian cancer.
If you see any indicators of ovary cancer symptoms, even if they are minor, see a doctor. Other factors are most likely to blame for your symptoms. Early detection can help you get life-saving treatment if they’re related to ovarian tumors.
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