#AHT: Ovarian cancer: causes, symptoms and prevention

What are the causes and symptoms of ovarian cancer
Ovarian cancer is the growth of abnormal cells forming in the ovaries. The cells multiply quickly and can destroy healthy body tissue. The female reproductive system contains two ovaries and one on each side of the uterus. The ovaries – each about the size of an almond – produce egg cells, as well as the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer
Signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer may include:

  • Abdominal bloating or swelling
  • Quickly feeling full when eating
  • Weight loss
  • Discomfort in the pelvic area
  • Fatigue
  • Back pain
  • A frequent need to urinate

Ovarian Cancer Causes
Ovarian cancer starts when cells in or near the ovaries develop mutations in their DNA.
A cell’s DNA contains the instructions that tell a cell what to do. The changes call the cells to grow and multiply quickly. The cancer cells continue living when healthy cells would die. They can invade nearby tissues, break off from an initial tumor, and spread to other parts of the body.

Ovarian Cancer Types

  • Epithelial ovarian cancer. This type is the most common. It includes serous carcinoma and mucinous carcinoma
  • Stromal tumors. These rare tumors are usually diagnosed at an earlier stage than other ovarian cancers.
  • Germ cell tumors. These rare ovarian cancers tend to occur at a younger age.

Risk Factors

  • Older the risk of ovarian cancer increases as your age. It’s the most often diagnosed in older adults
  • Inherited gene changes. the small percentage of ovarian cancers are caused by genes changes you inherit from your parents
  • Family history of ovarian cancer. If you have blood relatives who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, you may have an increased risk of the disease.
  • Being overweight. Being overweight increases the risk of ovarian cancer
  • Never having been pregnant. If you’ve never been pregnant

Prevention

  • Consider taking birth control pills. Taking birth control pills reduces the risk of ovarian cancer
  • Discuss your risk factors with your doctor. If you have a family history of breast and ovarian cancers, bring this up with your doctor. If you/re found to have a gene change that increases your risk of ovarian cancer, you may consider surgery to remove your ovaries to prevent cancer.

Statistics

  • Ovarian cancer is the second most common gynecologic cancer after uterine cancer;
  • It causes more deaths than any other gynecologic cancer;
  • Ovarian cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States;
  • The risk of ovarian cancer increases with age and family history of the disease is one of the most significant risk factors.
  • In 2010, the American cancer society estimated 21,880 women in the U.S who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, with 13,850 of those women dying from this disease.

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