Ovar ian Disease: Early Signs, Symptoms, and Detection

There are more than 30 different types of ovarian cancer, which are classified by the type of cell from which they start.

In most cases, ovarian cancer symptoms are not apparent in the early stages of the disease, it is the 8th most common cancer among women in the United States and it is the 5th most common cause of cancer deaths in women.

There are many theories about the causes of ovarian cancer.

The ovaries are two female reproductive glands that produce ova, or eggs.

They also produce the female hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Cancer starts when abnormal cells in the ovary begin to multiply out of control and form a tumor.

What is Ovarian Cancer?

Ovarian cancer refers to any cancerous growth that occurs in the ovary. The majority of ovarian cancers arise from the epithelium (outer lining) of the ovary.

Unlike normal cells which replaces old cells and repair injuries, cancer cells, on the other hand, lives longer than normal cells. The abnormal cells continue to produce and eventually becomes a tumor that affects other organs within the areas of the ovaries. And these cancer cells sometimes can swim to other parts of the body where they multiply and replace the normal cells.

According to Ovarian.org, there are several types of tumors that can start in the ovaries. Some are benign (non-cancerous) while others are malignant (cancerous).

Causes

As mentioned above, there are still no report to what cause ovarian cancer, only theories. Some researchers believe that pregnancy and taking birth control pills play a roll.

Although this two appears to lower the risk

of ovarian cancer, both also reduce the number of times the ovary releases an egg. Another theory is that male hormones can also be a cause.

It’s easy to overlook the early symptoms of ovarian cancer because they’re similar to other common illnesses or they tend to come and go. The early symptoms include:

* abdominal bloating, pressure, and pain

* abnormal fullness after eating

* difficulty eating

* an increase in urination

* an increased urge to urinate

Ovarian cancer can also cause other symptoms, such as:

* fatigue

* indigestion

* heartburn

* constipation

* back pain

* menstrual irregularities

* painful intercourse

Diagnosis and Tests

Because this cancer attacks the body's system silently, only 19% of cases are found in the early stages. When symptoms persist, the doctor will do a rectovaginal pelvic examination to the patient. The process is done when he simultaneously inserts one finger in the rectum and one in the vagina. If there's an irregularity found in the vagina, the woman may undergo transvaginal sonography and/or tumor markers. A blood test for ovarian cancer called CA-125can also be done.

Types of Ovarian Cancer

Typically, there are 30 types of ovarian cancer which are categorized based on cell type from which they start. But overall, the cancerous tumors can start from these three cell types:

* Surface Epithelium - The cells that covers the ovaries' lining

* Germ Cells - These cells help form eggs

* Stromal Cells - The cells that release hormones and links the ovaries' structures

Stages

Your doctor determines the stage based on how far the cancer has spread. There are four stages, and each stage has sub-stages:

Stage 1

Stage 1 ovarian cancer has 3 sub-stages:

* The cancer is limited, or localized, to one ovary in stage 1A.

* The cancer is in both ovaries in stage 1B.

* In Stage 1C, there are also cancer cells on the outside of the ovary.

Stage 2

In stage 2, the tumor has spread to other pelvic structures. In stage 2A, the cancer has spread to the uterus or fallopian tubes. In stage 2B, it has spread to the bladder or rectum.

Stage 3

Stage 3 ovarian cancer has three sub-stages:

* In stage 3A, the cancer has spread beyond the pelvis to the lining of the abdomen and the lymph nodes in the abdomen.

* In stage 3B, the cancer cells are outside of the spleen or liver.

* In stage 3C, deposits of cancer at least 3/4 of an inch are seen on the abdomen or outside the spleen or liver. However, the cancer isn’t inside the spleen or liver.

Stage 4

In stage 4, the tumor has metastasized, or spread, beyond the pelvis, abdomen, and lymph nodes to the liver or lungs. In stage 4A, the cancerous cells are in the fluid around the lungs. Stage 4B is the most advanced stage. In stage 4B, the cells have reached the inside of the spleen or liver or even other distant organs like the skin or brain.

Treatments: What your doctor can do

* Surgery - This allows the gynecologic oncologist to check where the cancer has reached and how to treat it.

* Chemotherapy - The patient will need to take medicines to destroy the cancer cells. Mostly recommended after surgery

* Radiation Therapy - Uses a high energy xray to kill the cancer and reduce the tumor size

The survival rate is higher than 90 percentwhen the cancer is found early and treated right away. Doctors diagnose 15 percent of ovarian cancers at the earliest stages. Scientists are currently researching more improved and reliable ways to detect ovarian cancer early.