Health Hour

Understanding the Symptoms, Types and Risk Factors of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian Cancer Overview

Ovarian Cancer, the fifth most common cause of cancer deaths in women, is severe a type of medical condition which begins in the ovaries. It is mainly caused due to an abnormal and uncontrollable growth of cells in the ovary.

What are the early signs of ovarian cancer?

It is easy to overlook the early symptoms of ovarian cancer because they’re similar to other common illnesses. Here are mentioned some early symptoms:-

  • abdominal bloating, pressure, and pain
  • abnormal fullness after eating
  • difficulty eating
  • an increase in urination
  • an increased urge to urinate

Who is at the risk of ovarian cancer?

Although ovarian cancer can affect women of any age, it is mostly common in those over the age of 50. Every woman, on an average suffers from 1.38% risk of suffering from ovarian cancer in her lifetime.

Studies show that ovarian cancer usually goes undetected until it spreads within the pelvis and abdomen. It becomes difficult to treat this disease in the latter stage, as it progresses rapidly with time. Timely detection and treatment of ovarian cancer in the initial stage makes it more likely to be treated successfully.

What are the types of ovarian cancers?

  • Ovarian low malignant potential tumor (OLMPT)
  • Germ cell tumors
  • Sex cord-stromal tumors
  • Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC)

What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer?

  • Constant pain or cramps in the belly or back
  • Unusual bleeding from the vagina, queasiness and bloating
  • Eating disorders or abnormal fullness after eating
  • Changes in appetite (often a loss of appetite)
  • Exhaustion, constipation and issues related to digestion
  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Heartburn and back pain
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • An increased urge to urinate
  • Increase in the abdominal girth

The severity of ovarian cancer makes it important to keep a check on the symptoms of the disease, and undergo a timely treatment in order to combat it.

What increases the risk of developing ovarian cancer?

  • Genes/family history of ovarian cancer
  • Excessive weight
  • The use of certain fertility drugs or hormone therapies
  • Inability to conceive
  • Endometriosis
  • Inherited mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes

Ovarian Cancer During Pregnancy

The most ovarian masses found during pregnancy are not malignant, and the ones which are cancerous are often in earlier stages. For most women, this means that the baby’s life does not have to be jeopardized. Many women are able to preserve their fertility through conservative surgery by removing only the one affected ovary and fallopian tube. Thus, treatment of and care for ovarian cancer during pregnancy is often very individualized.


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