Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the ovaries, which are located in the female reproductive system. It is one of the most common types of cancers affecting women and can be quite serious if not caught early.
The exact cause of ovarian cancer is unknown, but certain factors can increase a woman’s risk for developing it. These include genetics, being overweight or obese, having an inherited gene mutation such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, family history of ovarian or breast cancer, smoking, endometriosis (a disorder where tissue from the uterus grows outside its usual location), age over 50 years old, fertility treatments with hormones or other medications that stimulate egg production by the ovaries and having never given birth to a child.
There are three main types of ovarian cancer: epithelial tumors (also called carcinoma), germ cell tumors (including teratomas) and stromal tumors (including granulosa cell tumor). Symptoms may include bloating; pelvic or abdominal pain; difficulty eating or feeling full quickly; urinary symptoms such as urgency or frequency; unexplained weight loss; changes in bowel habits such as constipation; fatigue; back pain; menstrual irregularities ;and vaginal bleeding after menopause. If any of these symptoms occur regularly for more than two weeks without explanation, it’s important to visit your doctor right away to get checked out.
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Diagnosis usually involves physical examination including a pelvic exam followed by imaging tests like ultrasound, CT scan or MRI scans. A biopsy may also be done to confirm diagnosis if needed . Other tests might include blood work looking for markers related to ovarian cancer along with genetic testing for mutations associated with increased risk for certain types of cancers such as BRCA1/2 genes linked with hereditary breast-ovarian cancers . Treatment typically consists of surgery combined with chemotherapy depending on stage at diagnosis. Some patients may also consider clinical trials offering promising new treatments availability .
Ovarian cancer can be life threatening if not diagnosed timely , so keeping regular checkups are important . Early detection allows more options and better prognosis , so knowing one’s body is key when noticing any suspicious symptoms mentioned above . Also lifestyle modifications such as maintaining healthy weight through exercising regularly & balanced nutrition , avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol consumption have proven helpful reducing risks associated with some diseases including ovarian cancers.