Ovarian Cancer
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Ovarian Cancer is commonly known as the “Silent” killer because many times are no symptoms until the disease has progressed to an advanced stage. One third of the total women will get some form of cancer in their lifetime and approximately one and half percent of those cases will be cancer involving one or both ovaries.

Causes of Ovarian Cancer

An immediate family member (mother, sister or daughter), who has had ovarian cancer increases the risk of developing this disease about three times, giving you a five to seven percent risk of future ovarian cancer. When the cause is genetic, then ovarian cancer usually shows up a decade earlier in each successive generation.

If your mother had ovarian cancer in her 60’s then you stand a good chance that this disease will developing in you in your 50’s. Genetic counseling is a good idea for women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancers.

Women with a family history may opt for oophorectomy, although this procedure does not reduce risk by 75 to 90 percent. It has been known that women who use powders to dust their genital areas have a 60 percent higher risk of ovarian cancer.

Feminine deodorant sprays can almost double the risk. Women who use oral contraceptives for at least five years reduce their chances of developing ovarian cancer by half for the short term following use and possibly for lifetime.

Having two or three children can cut the risk by as much as 30 percent over women who never conceive or give birth. Having five or more children reduces the risk up to 50 percent, and breast-feeding the children can further reduce the risk. Tubal ligation reduces a woman’s risk up to percent.

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

Early symptoms of ovarian cancer are often milk, making this disease difficult to detect. Some early symptoms may include: (a) an unusual feeling fullness or discomfort in the pelvic region. (b) Unexplainable indigestion, gas or bloating that is not relieved with antacids.

(c) Pain during sexual intercourse (d) abnormal bleeding may be noted. (e) Swelling and pain of the abdomen may be felt. Early detection of ovarian cancer offers a 90 percent cure rate.

Sadly, a lack of symptoms from this silent disease means that about 76% of ovarian cancer cases will have spread to the abdomen by the time they are detected and unfortunately most patients die within five years. Ultrasound, chest X-ray and laparoscopy may be performed for the diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

Treatment of Ovarian Cancer

The treatment for ovarian cancer varies according to the number of factors. For most women the first treatment is also a diagnostic procedure, which involves surgery to determine the extent to which, the disease has spread.

As a result of surgery, the cancer will be staged. Stages range from I to IV, with I being the earliest and IV being the most advanced stage. Treatment of ovarian cancer is based on the stage and grade of disease.

Hysterectomy with Salpingo oophorectomy, that is the removal of the fallopian tubes and one or both ovaries, will of ovarian cancer. Chemotherapy or radiation will follow the hysterectomy based on individual patient cases. Young women who still desire children and who have certain types of early ovarian cancer confined to one ovary may be able to have only diseased ovary remove.

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