Ovarian cancer – Symptoms and Treatment

Ovaries are a pair of glands on either sides of uterus. They are crucial in any woman’s life as they control menarche, menstruation, conception, pregnancy and menopause. Estrogen secreted by ovaries gives women additional protection against Osteoporosis and cardiac disorders. Progesterone is associated with reducing immune system response to accept the infant, facilitation of labor and lactation. If there is absence of ovary or a malfunctioning ovary, uterine functions are also affected.

Types:-
* Epithelial ovarian cancer:-It is the tumor in outer lining of ovary. It can spread to surrounding areas like vagina and uterus. It is most common form of ovarian tumor. Women over 65 are at a higher risk of developing this cancer.
* Germ cell ovarian cancer:-It is the tumor of egg-producing cells within the ovary. It is comparatively rare and affects children and teenage girls.
* Stromal ovarian cancer:-It is very rare type of cancer and occurs in connecting tissues of ovaries.
* Metastatic cancer:-It gets formed in surrounding organs like colon, intestines and eventually spreads to ovaries.

In the early stage, symptoms of ovarian cancer may not be evident. Hence, it is difficult to diagnose.

Symptoms:-
* Pain in the pelvis and lower abdominal region
* Vaginal bleeding
* Excessive bleeding during menstruation
* Constipation
* Weight loss and fatigue
* Heartburn
* Increased urination
* Loss of appetite
* Nausea and vomiting
* Painful sexual intercourse
* Heartburn
* Bloating

Risk factors:-
* Menopause
* Genetic factors -Genes BRCA1 and BRCA2
* Early menarche and late menopause
* Nulliparity-Not getting pregnant
* Greater no. of ovulation cycles.
* Ovulation stimulation during IVF treatment
* Breasts cancer
* HRT
* Endometriosis cells that are supposed to grow inside the uterus grow outside
* Obesity/overweight

Diagnosis:-
* Ultrasound
* Pelvic exam
* Blood test CA-125
* Considerations for treatment- age, health and desire for children
* Genetic screening
* Laparoscopy
* Endoscopy
* Vaginal Examination
* MRI/CT Scan

Treatment:-
* Surgery-removing ovaries with or without uterus and fallopian tube
* Chemotherapy
* Early diagnosis helps recovery.
* Radiation therapy to efface cancerous cells

Treatment of ovarian cancer has many side effects. For e.g. chemotherapy may lead to Hair loss, Nausea, Loss of appetite. Removal of ovaries will cause menopause and the woman wouldn’t be able to conceive naturally. Course of treatment is decided taking into consideration affected woman’s age and health.

Death rate of ovarian cancer reached to third stage is very high. Hence earlier the recognition better is the likelihood of survival. Women are strongly advised not to ignore any unusual symptom or abnormality lasting for huge time. Avail help from Support groups, friends and family. Try relaxation techniques to soothe your emotions. Think positively and try to live the life fullest-one day, you might be offered the one anew without much trouble.

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