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Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors | Brooklyn Gynecology Services

Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors | Brooklyn Gynecology Services

Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors | Brooklyn Gynecology Services

Ovarian cancer affects the ovaries first. Every woman has two ovaries, one on each side of the uterus. Normally ovaries are about the size of an almond and they produce the eggs, estrogen and progesterone.

Ovarian cancer is usually diagnosed in later stages, when the cancer has already spread within the pelvis or abdomen. At this stage it is very difficult to treat it. The real cause of ovarian cancer is not known. However certain risk factors increase the probability of ovarian cancer. These risk factors include:

  • Age – usually occurs in the ages between 50-60 years. However, ovarian cancer can occur at any age.
  • Inherited gene mutation – breast cancer gene 1 (BRCA1) and breast cancer gene 2 (BRCA2). These genes have been identified in families with breast cancer and it has been proven to increase the risk of ovarian cancer.
  • Estrogen replacement therapy – especially when used for a long time and in large doses
  • Menstruations – menstruations before the age of 12 and menopause after the age of 52, increase the risk of ovarian cancer.
  • Never giving birth
  • IUD
  • Fertility treatments
  • Smoking
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome, etc.


Types of Ovarian Cancer

Types of ovarian cancer include:

  • Epithelial tumors – are the most common type of ovarian tumors. These tumors begin in the thin outside layer that covers the ovaries.
  • Stromal tumors – are also rare, only in 7% of cases. They are usually diagnosed at an earlier stage and begin in the hormone – producing cells of the ovarian tissue.
  • Germ cell tumors – are a rare type of ovarian cancer that usually affects younger women. Germ cell tumors begin in the egg-producing cells.


What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer?

Signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Fullness when eating even small amounts of food
  • Weight loss
  • Discomfort in the pelvis area
  • Changes in bowel habits, such as constipation altered with diarrhea
  • Frequent urination, etc.

How is Ovarian Cancer Diagnosed?

First of all the most important thing is to diagnose this type of cancer on time. Usually ovarian cancer is asymptomatic at the beginning, or the symptoms are nonspecific, making it more difficult to diagnose. When diagnosed, the cancer has usually spread into other pelvic or abdominal organs. Diagnosing methods of ovarian cancer include:

  • Pelvic examination
  • CT – Scan of the pelvis and abdomen
  • Blood test, which can detect the CA 125 protein


How Is Ovarian Cancer Treated?

A correct staging of ovarian cancer is necessary before considering any possible treatment. Stages of ovarian cancer include:

Stage I – cancer is found in one or both ovaries.

Stage II – cancer has spread to other parts of the pelvis.

Stage III – cancer has spread to the abdomen.

Stage IV – cancer is found outside the abdomen.

Treatment methods generally used for ovarian cancer include surgery and chemotherapy.

Surgery generally involves removing of the uterus, fallopian tubes and both ovaries together with the lymph nodes and omentum. Less extensive surgery is possible in cases when the ovarian cancer is diagnosed at an early stage.

Chemotherapy – includes the use of medications that will kill the remaining cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs can be administrated intravenously or directly into the abdominal cavity. In advanced cases, chemotherapy might be the only treating method for ovarian cancer.

Some factors can help low the possibility of developing ovarian cancer. These factors are:

  • Being pregnant and giving birth
  • Breastfeeding
  • Use of contraceptives for at least 10 years
  • Daily intake of Aspirin, etc.



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