Cancer is a scary word. But when you know all the facts, knowledge and understanding can reduce the fear. Find out everything you need to know about cancer and its effects...

Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is the cancer of ovaries present on each side of the uterus in a female body. Ovaries are very important part of the reproduction system as they produce eggs that later fertilize and turn into embryo. Ovaries also produce estrogen and progesterone needed by the body. These hormones play an important part in reproduction. When healthy cells start developing abnormalities in their structure and divide like normal cells then ovaries are said to be affected by cancer. These malignant cells later turn into tumors or cyst over one or both the ovaries. Every year about 7000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in UK that is much lower than about 20,000 cases diagnosed per year in the US.

Symptoms and diagnosis

This deadly disease is the most common cause of death among females. The symptoms of ovarian cancer are very vague and it is because of this reason that diagnosis of this disease is just an educated guess by the medical professionals. The common symptoms are pain in abdomen, back pain, bloating, tiredness, vaginal bleeding and pain during sexual intercourse. These symptoms are visible months before the confirmed diagnosis but are so vague that the victims never pay attention to them. Ovarian cancer is very hard to detect in its initial stages. Physical examination of the ovaries is the starting point in the diagnosis followed by CA-125 blood test and transvaginal ultrasound. The confirmed diagnosis is done by conducting biopsies and looking for cancer cells in the abdominal fluid.

Causes

The cause of ovarian cancer is still unknown to the medical fraternity. Old females form the high risk group and are likely to get affected after the menopause stage. Gene mutation of the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 is also one of the causes of this deadly disease thus making it a hereditary disease. Infertile females who have never conceived are more likely to get affected by this cancer.

Prevention and treatment

It has been found that taking of contraceptive pills reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. Stoppage of the secretion of estrogen and progesterone by removing ovaries and fallopian tubes stops or slow down this cancer as it needs these hormones to grow. The study of genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 should be done on the females who have known history of breast and ovarian cancer in the family. For the females who carry BCRA 1, removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes reduce the risk of this cancer to about 72%. It is also now established that a women who has delivered children is less likely to get this cancer than the women who have not.
Treatment and Management

As the prognosis of Ovarian cancer is very poor it is very important that the management of the patient should be done properly. Treatment of this cancer is generally surgery, chemotherapy and in extreme cases radiotherapy. Surgery is the best solution for tumors limited to ovaries but for advance stage treatment surgery combined with chemotherapy is required. Radiotherapy is done as the last resort and is generally avoided due to its adverse affects on other organs.