About Ovarian Cancer
About Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian Cancer is an illness where some of the cells in one or both of the ovaries grow abnormally and develop into cancer. The ovaries are small almond shaped organs that are part of the female reproductive system. Each ovary is approximately 2 – 4cm in width and they sit on either side of the uterus, with each ovary there are germ cells that eventually develop into eggs. The ovaries are also responsible for producing female hormones – estrogen and progesterone. These hormones regulate the menstrual cycle and affect the development of female body characteristics.
There are three types of ovarian cancer.
- Rare stromal type. These arise from the supporting tissues within the ovary.
- General epithelial type (in 90% of cases). These arise from the cells on the outside of the ovary.
- Germ cell type. These arise from the cells that produce eggs.
There are usually no obvious signs of ovarian cancer as the symptoms are often vague and can represent other reason such as those gastro intestinal related.
- unequal menstrual cycle
- Pain during intercourse
- Unexpected weight loss or weight gain
- Indigestion or nausea
- Persistent abdominal bloating or increase in the size of the abdomen
- Urge to urinate often or urgently
- Back, abdominal or pelvic pain
- Feeling of fullness after eating a small amount of food
- Cultural background
- Family history
- Age – increased risk for women over 50 years of age
- Never taken the oral contraceptive pill
- Blood tests
- Pelvic ultrasound
- Once these results are through you may then be referred to a Gynecologist for a full gynecological examination including a vaginal examination.
Treatment will depend on the type and extent of the ovarian cancer and the patient’s general health. Treatment may contain a mixture of surgery and chemotherapy.
It is suggested that women diagnosed with ovarian cancer be referred to a gynecological oncologist.
A regular two yearly check up with your Gynecologist is recommended. If you have risk factors, you will be advised that a yearly check-up is preferable.
It is significant to remember that most women who experience the above indication do not have ovarian cancer.