Cancer » Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer is a kind of cancer that occurs only in women. It can originate in a women's body at any age but women are more prone to it after the menopause. It is one of the major types of cancers in the developed nations. Most of the deaths caused due to the cancer of the ovary occur between women in the age group of 55-75 years.
Cancer of the ovary in detail
Ovarian cancer is one of the most important types of cancer as it may be fatal if not detected early. It is a very subtle type of cancer and rarely shows any direct symptoms during the development of cancerous cells. Most of the cases are detected when the disease reaches into an advanced stage. The cancer primarily starts in the ovary and may spread to other areas at a later stage.
There are two ovaries, one on each side of the uterus, in a women's body. These ovaries play a vital role in producing ova (eggs) and various hormones like testosterone, estrogen and progesterone. Hence, cancer in the ovaries may put a severe impact on the victim's health. In most of the cases, the cancer goes undetected for a long time and the intensity of cancerous cells is detected only when they reach other organs like the abdomen, pelvis, etc.
Almost 85-90% cases of the cancer of ovaries originate on the surface of the ovary called as epithelium. Hence, the cancer is also known as a type of epithelial cancer. In this cancer, the cancerous or malignant cells primarily attack the tissues and cells present on the ovarian surface. These malignant cells primarily target the tissues with low resistance power and damage or kill them instantly. Damage to tissues can put a severe impact on the cell formation mechanism. Cell growth mainly depends upon proper supply of blood and oxygen to various parts of the body. Improper supply of blood and oxygen affects the health of live cells and may even lead to their early and unnatural death. Abnormal behavior or unnatural death of cells makes that particular area highly prone to cancerous infection. Tissues are the main suppliers of blood and oxygen to various areas and hence, their invasion by the cancerous cells is highly dangerous and destructive.
Tumors are generally formed when a group of unnecessary or dead cells accumulate in a certain area and form a lump. This lump or tumor can be benign or cancerous depending upon the nature and severity of the cancerous cells. Benign tumors are easily durable by surgery and do not cause much damage to the body. They do not damage or kill tissues and usually restrict themselves to a particular area. Once treated, they rarely show a tendency to reappear. On the contrary, cancerous tumors are the main culprits to damage live and healthy tissues and pose a threat to the patient's life. These tumors develop mainly because of the abnormal behavior of cancerous cells and also spread rapidly to other areas through the lymph node or bloodstream. Cancerous tumors are difficult to eliminate and have high chances of recurrence even if treated previously.
If a tumor in or near the ovary is detected in a woman below thirty years of age, chances of the tumor being benign are high. However, benign tumors may convert into cancerous ones if left undetected or untreated for a long time.
Serous is the most form of epithelial ovarian cancer. Clear cell, endometrioid, mucinous and stromal cancer are some other types. In rare cases, the cancer may also develop in the germ cells or egg cells.
Cancer in the ovaries can be very painful and even fatal if not treated in time. Situation may worsen if the cancerous cells spread rapidly to adjacent or remote areas of the body. Family history of the disease is the most important cause of the cancer in the ovaries. People who have been treated for other types of cancer like endometrial, prostate or colon cancer are more susceptible to the disease as compared to those who have never suffered from any cancerous infection. Women suffering from breast cancer are at an extremely high risk of being prone to the ovarian cancer.
Age is another important factor to make a person prone to the disease as the risk of getting infected by the cancer increases with age. Women who are above 50 years of age and the ones with the menopause must undergo regular health checkup. Women who never had children are at risk as having children and breastfeeding decreases the risk of this cancer considerably. Bad immune system provides with the most favorable conditions for cancerous cells to grow without any considerable resistance. A strong immune system is important to prevent or fight the disease. Exercise regularly and have a balanced and hygienic diet low in fat content.
Bleeding in the vagina, irregular menstrual cycle, pain or discomfort in the abdominal areas or pelvis and frequent back pain are some of the common symptoms of this cancer. If you experience any irregularities in the body, you must undergo medical tests like biopsy, test of pregnancy, endoscopy and ultrasound test of the pelvis or abdominal areas. Some may also have to undergo genes test to detect the exact reason of the disorder. Various kinds of treatments are available worldwide to get rid of the cancer cells. Surgery is the most standard form of treatment recommended in most of the cases.
Ovarian cancer must be taken seriously as the disease may spread rapidly to vital organs like the vagina and uterus. If the cancer has spread to many areas, radiation therapy may show positive results. Also, chemotherapy is advised in some cases depending upon the sustainability of the patient to such strong treatment. Magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography and computed tomography are some important scanning techniques to examine the body internally. Hence, detection and diagnosis of the disease becomes easier if right techniques are used.