According to the National Cancer Institute, there were an estimated 21,990 new cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed in 2011 alone. Consider this overview to learn more about ovarian cancer, including causes and risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options.
What is Ovarian Cancer?
Ovarian cancer forms within the tissues of the ovaries, which are the female reproductive glands in which the eggs are formed. Most types of ovarian cancers are classified as ovarian epithelial carcinomas, or those that begin within the cells on the surface of the ovary, or malignant germ cell tumors that begin within the egg cells.
Causes and Risk Factors
While the direct cause of ovarian cancer is unknown, studies show that certain factors may put some woman at greater risk than others. Some of the most common risk factors for ovarian cancer include:
- Family history of ovarian cancer
- Inherited gene mutations
- Previous cancer diagnosis, such as cancer of the breast, rectum, uterus, or colon
- Increasing age
- Hormone replacement therapy used for menopause
The symptoms of ovarian cancer may differ depending on the type; however, the most common symptoms of ovarian cancer include:
- Pelvic discomfort
- Abdominal pressure, swelling, or bloating
- Changes in bowel or bladder habits
- Loss of appetite
- Increased abdominal girth
- Lack of energy
- Low back pain
- …and more
Ovarian cancer can be diagnosed in several ways, including a pelvic examination, ultrasound, CA 125 blood test, or surgical biopsy to analyze tissue samples from the ovaries.
Women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer may be treated with chemotherapy or surgical removal of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, omentum, and lymph nodes.
The best way to prevent the development of ovarian cancer is to undergo routine screenings with your cancer care hospital. Whether you’re interested in a screening, diagnostic imaging, or an overview of your treatment options, the West Hills Hospital & Medical Center is here to help. Our cancer care team and oncology specialists provide a centralized cancer treatment program to meet the needs of each individual patient. Contact us to find a doctor specializing in cancer care, an oncologist, or talk to a nurse about cancer and symptoms, call our 24-hr, toll free Consult-A-Nurse® service at (818) 676-4000 .
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