According to a study conducted by the World Health Organisation one in every 12 women in urban India potentially suffer from cancer. The five main types of cancer that can affect a woman’s organs are cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulvar. Among these, breast cancer is a leading cause behind the maximum number of cancer-related female deaths in India, closely followed by ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is more dangerous than any other cancers because the survival rate of a woman suffering from ovarian cancer is far lower than any other cancer that affects women, as it is difficult to detect in the early stages. Today, we take a look at this slow killer and tell you how you can prevent it. According to ovariancancer.org, ‘Ovarian cancer is a growth of abnormal malignant cells that begins in the ovaries.’ Ovarian cancer can be of two types: Benign (non-cancerous) and malignant (cancerous). The only difference between the two is that in its benign form, the tumors do not spread to the other parts of the body; whereas in its malignant form, the tumor spreads to other parts of the body through the bloodstream.
Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer :
Early stages may not show many symptoms, but as the cancer grows there may be symptoms like :
- Pain in the abdomen, pelvis or legs
- Swollen abdomen
- Nausea, diarrhea or constipation
- Feeling tired all the time
- Difficulty in eating
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Pain during intercourse
- Frequent urination
The above symptoms are very common and may be associated with normal health worries, but if the problem persists over a longer duration, take medical assistance quickly as negligence may prove fatal.
Ovarian cancer is treatable, if detected in the early stages. If diagnosed at the right time, medical treatment can prevent the tumor/s from spreading to different parts of the body. Depending on the stages of the cancer, your doctor may suggest a combination of treatments. Mostly a surgery is carried out, followed by chemotherapy. The various treatments are as follows.
A surgery is carried out, both to diagnose ovarian cancer and to treat it as well. Tissue is removed from the ovary to examine it. Once examined, the main goal of the surgeon is to remove the tumor completely. To prevent the spreading of the tumor, your doctor may remove ovaries and the surrounding tissues. A second surgery may also be carried out after all other treatments.
This treatment uses drugs to slow down the growth of cancer and reduce the chances of reoccurrence.
Radiation therapy :
Women with ovarian cancer are mostly treated with external radiation. The treatment uses a high energy X-ray to kill all the cancer causing cells.
Risks factors :
The fact is that ALL women, are at a risk of developing ovarian cancer, simply because they are women. Therefore all women’s should check the signs and prevent it from happening. Besides this, some other risk factors are
Family history :
According to the American Cancer Society, 10% of ovarian cancer can be hereditary. Having a family history of ovarian, breast or colorectal cancer increases the chances of ovarian cancer in women. The possibility of developing ovarian cancer is due to the mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. The younger you are or the family member who got diagnosed with the disease, the higher are your chances of developing ovarian cancer.
Post menopausal :
Most of the ovarian cancer cases have been diagnosed in women who have crossed the age of 55-60 or after a women has entered menopause.
According to Dr. Sheetal, there is a high chance of developing ovarian cancer if you are obese. The American Cancer Society has also correlated a higher rate of ovarian cancer in obese women.
Women who have never been pregnant or have used some sort of drugs to achieve pregnancy seem to have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.
What can one do to prevent ovarian cancer?
The appropriate medicine has still not been discovered, but here are a few tips to reduce one’s risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Oral contraception :
Consumption of birth control pills for more than 5 years can reduce the risk of developing ovarian cancer. The longer the birth controls pills are used, the lesser are the chances of developing ovarian cancer. However, you must consult your doctor before assuming that the pills you take will prevent ovarian cancer, especially if you take them regularly.
Breastfeeding and pregnancy :
Bearing children before the age of 28 can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. Breastfeeding may also decrease one’s risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Surgical prevention :
Women who are at a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer due to genetics or who are outside of their reproductive stages can opt for surgical preventions. The various surgical preventions such as tubal ligation and oophorectomy can greatly reduce the risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Source : The Times Of India