Ovarian Cancer, a type of gynecological cancer can be defined as a cancerous growth arising from cells in the ovary. Most ovarian cancers (more than 90%) arise from the surface of the ovary (epithelium). According to studies, cancerous cells may also arise from the fallopian tube. Other less common forms of ovarian cancer may originate from egg cell termed germ cell tumor.
There is no definite cause for ovarian cancer. The factors that pose a greater risk are a)Menstrual Cycles and b) Family History
The more a woman ovulates the more is her risk of having the disease. Older women who have never become pregnant with a family history of the disease also possess a higher risk.
Mutation of genes
Ovarian cancer symptoms if present are very subtle and vague. These may include bloating, abdominal or pelvic pain, difficulty eating, change in bowel movements and bladder movements (frequent urination). Other symptoms include fatigue, abnormal vaginal bleeding or weight loss.
It is very difficult to diagnose ovarian cancer at its early stages. A typical diagnosis includes pelvic examination, blood test and ultrasound scan. Current research combines tumor marker assay for all ovarian malignancy along with other indicators like radiology to improve accuracy. In order to get definite results for diagnosis, an open surgery or keyhole surgery of the abdomen needs to be performed. Suspicious cells can be removed from the abdomen and sent for further tests. This procedure can be used to determine the stage of cancer.
Treatment usually involves surgery, chemotherapy and sometimes radiotherapy. For malignant tumors confined to the ovary, surgical procedure is adequate. Chemotherapy is used in case of aggressive tumors in the ovary. In advanced stages, a combination of the above may be required. Radiation treatment seems to be ineffective in the advanced stages of the disease.
Studies reveal blocking the fallopian tubes surgically called tubal ligation reduces the risk. The use of birth control pills over a period of many years is said to reduce the risk.