- by Oncology India
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- Mar 10 2018
WHAT IS OVARIAN CANCER?
What is Ovary?
The ovaries are part of the female reproductive system, they produce a woman's eggs and female’s hormones. There are 2 ovaries, one on each side of the body. Some women have cysts on their ovaries that are not usually cancerous. Cancer of ovary is not common, but it causes more deaths than other female reproductive cancers. Ovarian cancer is hard to detect early as women with ovarian cancer may have no symptoms or just mild symptoms until the disease is in an advanced stage. It is 8th most common cancer among women in the United States. In women of childbearing age, small cysts develop in the ovary every month as an egg develops. This is normal and they usually disappear without treatment within a few months. Tests should be done if the cysts:
• are there for longer than normal
• are unusually large
• develop when you are past your menopause
Ovarian cancer refers to any cancerous growth (abnormal cells in a part of the body begin to grow uncontrollably) that occurs in the ovary. The majority of ovarian cancers arise from the epithelium (outer lining) of the ovary. It includes several different types of cancer that all arise from cells of the ovary. Most commonly, tumors arise from the epithelium or lining cells of the ovary. In women ages 35-74, ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths.
Types of Ovarian Cancer
There are more than 30 different types of ovarian cancer, which are classified by the type of cell from which they start. Cancerous ovarian tumors start from three common cell types:
• Surface Epithelium - cells covering the outer lining of the ovaries
• Germ Cells - cells that are destined to form eggs
• Stromal Cells - Cells that release hormones and connect the different structures of the ovaries
Surface Epithelium tumor: These develop from the cells that cover the outer surface of the ovary. Most epithelial ovarian tumors are benign (noncancerous) such as serous adenomas, mucinous adenomas, and Brenner tumors. Cancerous epithelial tumors are carcinomas which begin in the tissue that lines the ovaries.
Germ Cells tumor: These develop from the cells that produce the ova or eggs. Most germ cell tumors are benign, although some are cancerous and may be life-threatening. The most common are maturing teratomas, dysgerminomas, and endodermal sinus tumors. Germ cell malignancies occur most often in teenagers and women in their twenties.
Stromal Cells tumor: Ovarian stromal tumors are a rare class of tumors that develop from connective tissue cells that hold the ovary together and those that produce the female hormones, estrogen, and progesterone. The most common types are granulosa-theca tumors and Sertoli-Leydig cell tumors.
Stages of Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer is difficult to detect, especially, in the early stages because ovaries are deep within the abdominal cavity.
• Pelvic or abdominal pain
• Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
• Feeling the need to urinate urgently or often
• Upset stomach or heartburn
• Back pain
• Pain during sex
• Constipation or menstrual changes
Most women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed with the advanced-stage disease (Stage III or IV). This is because of the symptoms of ovarian cancer, particularly in the early stages, often are not acute or intense, and present vaguely.
Although there is no consistently-reliable screening test to detect ovarian cancer, the following tests are available and should be offered to women, especially those women at high risk for the disease:
• Pelvic Exam
• Transvaginal Sonography
• CA-125 Test
A woman should consult with a gynaecologic oncologist, who may conduct a CT scan and evaluate the test results.
To remove the cancerous growth surgery is the most common method of diagnosis and therapy for ovarian cancer. It is best performed by a qualified gynaecologic oncologist.
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