Ovarian Cancer – Knowing More is the Only Way to Stay Safe
It’s unfortunate that anyone can be a cancer patient. There is no set criterion or lifestyle that induces this disease. The only way to protect yourself from it is to know it better and if you see any symptoms, start the treatment right away so that your chances of getting cured increase. Here we’ll know more about ovarian cancer.
If I suffer from the disease, my first symptoms of ovarian cancer would be pelvic pain, bloating, difficulty in eating, urinary symptoms (frequency or urgency) and feeling full soon. These symptoms are very subtle and can be commonly mistaken for other, more common issues. Rarely, early stage ovarian cancers may show symptoms, but in most cases, they don’t appear until the cancer has advanced.
What is Ovarian Cancer?
As you may know, cancer is a disease in which body’s cells start dividing continuously and spread into the adjacent tissue.
When it comes to ovarian cancer, it is actually a group of diseases that mainly affect ovaries. There are several types of it. Although all of them are known as ‘ovarian’ since they affect ovaries, they’re different from each other in terms of their origin, how they appear under a microscope, treatment and prognosis.
Ovarian tumours can be malignant (cancerous) or benign (noncancerous). Even if they are abnormal, cells of benign tumours don’t metastasize (spread to other parts of the body).
Ovarian cysts are different than ovarian tumours. While ovarian tumours are solid masses, ovarian cysts are filled with fluid. Most of them are not harmful, don’t show symptoms and don’t indicate a risk for forthcoming ovarian cancer. However, some complex ovarian cysts may increase the risk.
The number and/or frequency of the symptoms are important considerations in the diagnosis of ovarian cancer. If you have these symptoms, you should immediately visit a doctor, preferably a gynecologist, especially if you have them for more than 2 weeks and they’re new or unusual for you.
However, research shows that symptom detection alone doesn’t help in detecting ovarian cancer early. More research is required to find better ways to recognize ovarian cancer and treat it more successfully.
Less Common Symptoms
- Extreme fatigue
- Changes in bowel habits
- Unexplained weight loss
- Abnormal bleeding – you should get any post-menopausal bleeding checked by your doctor
As mentioned earlier, anyone can fall prey to cancer. Thus, anyone with ovaries can fall prey to ovarian cancer. Still, there are some risk factors:
Age: Your risk becomes higher as you get older. Ovarian cancer is commonly seen in women aged 50-79. However, you can even get it when you’re younger.
Family History: Your risk increases if your family has a history of ovarian, endometrial, breast or colorectal cancer.
Reproduction: Your risk increases if you haven’t delivered children.
Hormone Replacement: If you’ve taken hormone replacement, your risk may be higher.
Reducing the Risk
There are some ways to reduce the risk, but one should consider the risk, consequences and potential side effects. These are:
- Removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding (thus reducing the number of ovulatory cycles)
- Combined contraceptive pills
Knowing about cancers is the most effective way to be safe from the disease. Collect more information, talk to your doctor and stay safe!