Ovarian cancer represents the appearance of cancerous formations located in the two ovaries. Although there are effective treatments to treat it, it is often detected very late due to the absence or confusion of symptoms. It is one of the most difficult types of cancer in the early stage. If diagnosed when it is quite evolved, the risk of death is very high.
Women are naturally gifted with 2 ovaries, one on each side of the uterus. These are very small in size (like a nut) and produce the egg released monthly, as well as hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Ovarian cancer is usually found when it is quite advanced, and cancer cells spread to other areas such as the abdomen or pelvis. At this stage, it can be fatal.
What are the risk factors for ovarian cancer?
Doctors fail to always identify the causes of this type of cancer. But they have established some risk factors that predispose some women more than others to him:
- family history of ovarian cancer patients - inheritance of genetic mutations (but also of other types of cancer such as breast, colon, rectum or uterine);
- personal cancer history (if you have had colon, breast, rectal or uterine cancer in the past);
- age over 50-55 years;
- lack of a task;
- Hormone therapy in menopause.
What are the symptoms?
Often this disease is asymptomatic. Even when they do occur, they are easily confused with digestive or bladder problems. When they begin to appear, they tend to increase rapidly in intensity and severity.
- abdominal pressure, sensation of fullness, swelling and bloating;
- discomfort or pelvic pain;
- persistent indigestion, gas and nausea;
- changes in the intestinal transit (eg constipation);
- changes in the bladder (frequent urination);
- lack of speed or satiety (after only a few swallows);
- constant fatigue and lack of energy;
- low back pain;
- Increased abdominal circumference.
How is ovarian cancer diagnosed?
Tests and procedures for diagnosing this type of cancer include:
- pelvic examination (inspection and analysis of all organs and parts that make up the genital area by palpation);
- ultrasound (investigates the shape, size and appearance of the ovaries);
- sometimes, a transvaginal ultrasound may be recommended;
- surgery to collect a tissue sample from the ovaries (biopsy);
- analysis of CA 125 (antigen cancer) of blood - high levels of CA 125 indicate the presence of a tumor, etc.
How is ovarian cancer treated?
Ovarian cancer treatments usually consist of a combination of surgery and chemotherapy.
Surgery sometimes only involves removal of the ovaries, but sometimes it is necessary to remove other parts of the reproductive tract if the tumor has spread. These include the uterine tubes, uterus, lymph nodes and part of the abdominal adipose tissue. If surgery is used, then the woman will never be able to have children again. Therefore, the removal of the ovaries and other parts of the reproductive tract gives rise to infertility.
After the surgery, the doctor may recommend your chemotherapy sessions. It is an extremely powerful medication meant to destroy any trace of the remaining cancerous cell. Sometimes this is recommended before surgery, as the only treatment method, if the disease is detected early.
Can it be prevented?
Ovarian cancer cannot be prevented, but there are several measures to reduce the risk:
- contraceptives (talk to your doctor and consider whether contraceptive pills are a solution for you and the risks you present);
- talk to the doctor how high the risk of developing ovarian cancer is; Depending on this, you may be advised to perform certain genetic tests that indicate exactly what the chances are, and if they are too high, it may be advisable to have surgical removal of the ovaries to eliminate any risk.
Tags Ovarian cancer Risk factors for ovarian cancer Contraception