Ovarian cancer refers to any type of cancer that begins in the ovaries, which are the female reproductive organs responsible for producing eggs and the hormones estrogen and progesterone. It is one of the most common malignancies affecting women in India. As per the US National Cancer Institute, the estimated cases of ovarian cancer in 2023 have reached 19,710 with more than 13,000 deaths. Read on to know everything about ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the female reproductive organ known as the ovaries. It causes abnormal cells to develop in the ovaries which keep multiplying and form a tumor. It is sometimes referred to as a “silent killer” because it tends to go undetected in its early stages. It hardly ever shows any symptoms. However, common symptoms of ovarian cancer include bloating, pelvic pain, abdominal discomfort, changes in bowel habits, and frequent urination.
While it is difficult to diagnose ovarian cancer in its early stage, early detection and appropriate medical intervention are the only ways to treat the problem. Treatment of ovarian cancer typically involves surgery, chemotherapy, and sometimes radiation therapy, depending on the stage and type of cancer. Regular check-ups and awareness of potential symptoms are crucial in the early detection and management of ovarian cancer.
Studies have shown that the exact cause of ovarian cancer is not yet known, but there are several risk factors that could lead to the possibility of this type of cancer. Also, it is not necessary that the causes mentioned here are the reasons why someone develops ovarian cancer, as many women with ovarian cancer have no known risk factors. Having said that, here are some of the most common causes of ovarian cancer:
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Symptoms of ovarian cancer can easily mimic other less serious conditions. However, it is crucial to be aware of the potential symptoms, as early detection can significantly improve its prognosis. Also, symptoms may vary from one woman to another. Common symptoms of ovarian cancer include:
For proper diagnosis, the doctor will review your medical history, and do a physical examination, imaging tests, and a tissue biopsy. Here’s an overview of the diagnosis of ovarian cancer:
After the proper diagnosis, your doctor may ask you get more tests, such as staging and additional imaging, to determine the extent of cancer. This will help your doctor to understand the kind of treatment suited for the condition.
Treatment of ovarian cancer depends on various factors, including the stage of cancer. Here’s an overview of the main treatment options:
Ovarian cancer treatment may vary from one person to another, depending on the specifics of each case. It is crucial for patients to talk to their doctors to get proper treatment for ovarian cancer.
Bloating, diarrhoea, and stomach pain are some of the initial symptoms of ovarian cancer you should look out for.
Many women fully recover from ovarian cancer by getting proper surgery and/or chemotherapy.
Pain from ovarian cancer can be excruciating and it can cause discomfort at a later stage. However, there are pain management strategies that can help to mitigate the pain.