Introduction: Ovaries are an integral part of a woman’s reproductory system. They produce hormones like estrogen & progesterone. Nowadays a major emerging concern for women is Ovarian cancer about which there is less awareness. As the Ovaries are located just near the intestine & bladder, ovarian-cancer symptoms are often ignored or misunderstood as the symptoms of either digestive problem or urinary infection. As per the American Cancer Society, Ovarian-Cancers ranks fifth in Cancer-related deaths among women.
What is Ovarian Cancer?
Cancer that occurs in the tissues inside the Ovary or on surface of Ovary is called an Ovarian Cancer. Female reproductory system has two Ovaries which produce hormones as well as eggs. Types of Ovarian cancer are named based on the types of cell from which they originate. But commonly the Cancer tumor originates from three types of cells as mentioned below. 1. Surface Epithelium Cells: These are the cells covering the outer lining of Ovaries 2. Germ Cells: These cells form the eggs. 3. Stromal Cells: They release hormones and connect different parts of Ovaries
Types of Ovarian Cancer:
There are various types of ovarian cancers found in Women and they are as follows –
Epithelial tumor: It develops over the surface of ovary called as Epithelium. This is the most common & most dreadful of all types of Ovarian cancer. This type of cancer is very common and not diagnosed until the disease is in advanced stage.
Germ cell tumor: It develops inside the egg producing cells of the Ovaries. This might be life threatening and they occur most often in teenagers & women in their twenties.
A Stromal Tumor: It is a rare ovarian cancer which develops inside the supporting tissue of the Ovary, which produces the female hormones, i.e. Estrogen & Progesterone. It is a low grade cancer.
Risk factors leading to Ovarian Cancer:
Most prominent factor for cause of this Cancer is Family history. Other reasons that may lead to Ovarian Cancer are Obesity, Delay in Menopause, Early Menstruation, Endometriosis, Females with Breast cancer; even females with Infertility are more prone to this cancer. Having first child post 30’s could also lead to Ovarian Cancer.
There are many symptoms that one can experience like changes in menstrual cycle, Fatigue, bloating, Urgent need to urinate, changes in appetite, pain in lower back, changes in movement of bowl area etc.
Different types of tests can be used to confirm the diagnosis of ovarian cancer like Pelvic examination, Ultrasound, X-rays of lower colon & rectum, MRI scan, Laparoscopy, Colonoscopy & Biopsy.
Stages of Ovarian Cancer:
After detecting Ovarian cancer the next step should be identification of its stage of progression. There are four stages of Ovarian Cancer.
Stage 1: At this stage cancer cells have just started affecting the Ovaries and have not spread throughout.
Stage 2: This stage of cancer affects both the Ovaries and some organs in the pelvic area.
Stage 3: At this stage along with both the Ovaries there are chances that either the abdomen or lymph nodes at the back of the abdomen also get affected.
Stage 4: Here the cancer has spread to most of the parts of the body that includes Lever, Spleen and area around Lungs.
Treatment depends on the current stage of the tumors largely comprises of Surgery, Chemotherapy, Radiation therapy etc.
Note: Medical information provided in the article is intended only for information purpose and should not be considered as medical advice.