Ovarian Cancer – Symptoms and Causes of Ovarian Cancer

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The fifth leading cause of cancer deaths in women is ovarian cancer, the leading cause of death from gynecological malignancy, and the second most commonly diagnosed gynecologic malignancy. Based on the American Cancer Society, there is no true test for ovarian cancer. “Several large studies are in progress to learn how best to find ovarian cancer in its earliest stage.” Since there is no accurate screening test, “an exploratory surgical procedure called laparoscopy is generally required for the definitive diagnosis of ovarian cancer. During this procedure, cysts or other suspicious areas must be removed and biopsied. After the incision is made, the surgeon assesses the fluid and cells in the abdominal cavity. If the lesion is cancerous, the surgeon continues with a process called surgical staging to ascertain how far the cancer has spread.

Ovarian cancer is often called the “silent” killer because many times there are no symptoms until the disease has progressed to an advanced stage. One-third of American women will get some form of cancer in their lifetime and approximately one and one half percent of those cases will be cancer involving one or both ovaries.

Ovarian cancer usually happens in women over age 50, but it can also affect younger women. Its cause is unknown. Ovarian cancer is hard to detect early. The sooner ovarian cancer is found and treated, the better your chance for recovery. But ovarian cancer is hard to detect early. Many times, women with ovarian cancer have no symptoms or just mild symptoms until the disease is in an advanced stage and hard to treat.


Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

When symptoms do appear, they are generally so vague that they are often ignored. The most common signs are abdominal swelling or bloating, lower abdominal discomfort, a feeling of discomfort, a feeling of fullness even after a light meal, and loss of appetite. Other complaints may include gas, indigestion, nausea, and weight loss.

Symptoms may include prolonged abdominal swelling, abdominal pain, poor appetite, weight loss, a need to pass water often, digestive problems such as indigestion, bloating, constipation, and unusual bleeding from the vagina.

Ovarian cancer may cause several signs and symptoms. Women are more likely to have symptoms if the disease has spread beyond the ovaries, but even early stage ovarian cancer can cause them

Causes of Ovarian Cancer

The causes of ovarian cancer remain unknown. Some researchers believe it has to do with the tissue-repair process that follows the monthly release of an egg through a tiny tear in an ovarian follicle (ovulation) during a woman’s reproductive years. The formation and division of new cells at the rupture site may set up a situation in which genetic errors occur. Others propose that the increased hormone levels before and during ovulation may stimulate the growth of abnormal cells.

Obesity: Various studies have looked at the relationship of obesity and ovarian cancer. Overall, it does seem that obese women (those with a body mass index of at least 30) do have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. A study from the American Cancer Society also found a higher rate of death from ovarian cancer in obese women. The risk was increased by 50% in the heaviest women.
The incidence of ovarian cancer increases steadily with age, with most cases found in women 55 to 75 years of age. It occurs with equal frequency in each of the two ovaries.

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