Ovarian Cancer- Type, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Health Desk- Ovarian cancer is a growth of cells that form in the ovaries. The cells multiply rapidly and can invade and destroy healthy body tissue.

Ovarian Cancer- Type, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
Ovarian Cancer- Type, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

The female reproductive system consists of two ovaries, one on each side of the uterus. The ovaries — about the size of an almond — produce eggs (ova) as well as the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Ovarian cancer treatment usually involves surgery and chemotherapy.

Types of ovarian cancer-

The type of cell where the cancer begins determines the type of ovarian cancer you have and helps your doctor determine which treatments are best for you. Types of ovarian cancer include:

1 .Epithelial ovarian cancer-

This variety is the most common. It includes several subtypes, including serous carcinoma and mucinous carcinoma.

2 .Stromal tumor-

These rare tumors are usually diagnosed at an earlier stage than other ovarian cancers.

3 .Germ cell tumor-

These rare ovarian cancers tend to occur at a younger age.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer-

There are no symptoms in the early stages of ovarian cancer, so it is difficult to detect it early.

The early symptoms are quite non-specific and are often underestimated by women.

Which are as follows-

  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen belly
  • Weight loss
  • Discomfort in the pelvic area
  • Tiredness
  • Back pain
  • Change in bowel habits such as constipation.
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Feeling full even on an empty stomach

When these real alarm bells appear, it’s a good idea to ask your gynecologist for a simple pelvic ultrasound scan, which can give an important first diagnostic sign.

Ovarian cancer causes-

Ovarian cancer is closely related to age: most cases are diagnosed after entering menopause, between the ages of 50 and 69.

Also, the longer a woman’s fertile period is, the more likely she is to develop this cancer.

It is thought that each ovulation represents a small trauma to the surface of the ovary from which the tumor arises; For this reason, all events that reduce the number of ovulations are possible causes.

Pregnancy, the use of hormonal contraceptives, and breastfeeding are considered protective factors capable of reducing the risk of occurrence of ovarian cancer.

The genetic factor also plays an important role; According to an estimate by the National Cancer Institute, between 7% and 10% of all cases result from a genetic change that is passed down through generations to mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that can lead to ovarian cancer and breast cancer. Is. together or at different times.

The risk rate of ovarian cancer is 46–1 percent if a BRCA39 gene mutation is present and 27–2 percent if a BRCA10 gene mutation is present.

Being a carrier of a mutation in these genes means a higher chance of getting the disease, but not a certainty.

In this case, however, it is important to adhere to a schedule of regular and thorough screening as well as to inform family members under age who themselves may be carriers of the mutation.

Bilateral anexectomy (surgical removal of the ovaries) is recommended in women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations who have already conceived or who are past child-bearing age.

How widespread is ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer ranks ninth among cancers in Italy, affecting approximately 4,490 women each year, and accounting for 2.9% of all cancer diagnoses, according to estimates from 4,490 tumor registries.

It is uncommon in Asian, African and South American countries whereas in Europe it accounts for 5% of all female cancers.

Ovarian cancer prevention-

Several screening programs have been proposed which include the annual performance of a transvaginal ultrasound scan, associated or not, with the detection of tumor markers: CA 125; However, results have been disappointing as CA125 is currently unreliable because it is not very specific.

More reliable appears to be another recently introduced tumor marker: HE4, which has greater sensitivity and specificity.

Nevertheless, studies have shown that an annual visit to the gynecologist who performs biannual palpation of the ovaries and transvaginal ultrasound control may facilitate early diagnosis.

Ovarian cancer diagnosis-

Ovarian cancer is often diagnosed late.

A gynecological examination with transvaginal ultrasound is necessary; These are combined with laboratory tests to detect tumor markers such as CA125, CA19/9, HE4, CEA, alpha-fetoprotein.

Pelvic CT scan with contrast medium and PET scan to identify areas of high metabolic activity may be helpful.

Ovarian carcinoma can be diagnosed at different stages:

1, confined to the ovary;

2, over one or both ovaries and extending to the pelvic organs;

3, on one or both ovaries, with spread to the pelvic organs and/or to lymph nodes in the same area with metastases;

4, with metastases also distant from the ovary region, usually to the liver and lungs.

A good or poor prognosis depends on the stage of the tumor at the time of diagnosis, which should be as early as possible.

Ovarian cancer treatment-


Surgery is fundamental in the treatment of ovarian cancer. In addition to removing the tumor, it allows accurate staging of the neoplasm. In patients with advanced disease, surgery is aimed at removing all visible tumor (cytoreductive surgery), in addition to assessing the extent of the disease.

2. Chemotherapy-

Chemotherapy remains, after surgery, the cornerstone treatment for ovarian carcinoma. Paclitaxel and carboplatin are used.

3.Monoclonal antibodies-

Tumors are closely associated with the neoplasm of blood vessels that nourish and allow the neoplasm to grow. Drugs such as bevacizumab, a monoclonal antibody that specifically binds to and blocks the VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) protein, which plays an important role in angiogenesis, have been used more recently.

Disclaimer: This content provides general information only including advice. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult an expert or your own physician for more details.


Q- What are the causes of ovarian cancer?

A- Factors that may increase your risk of ovarian cancer include the following:
Obesity and overweight.
Premature menstruation and/or late menopause.
Family history of ovarian cancer (mother, sister, daughter).
Personal history of breast, uterine or colorectal cancer.

Q- What could be my first symptoms of ovarian cancer?

A- The symptoms of ovarian cancer are similar to those of ovarian cysts and may include:
Abdominal swelling
Abdominal pressure and pain
Feeling excessively full or having trouble eating
Frequent urination
Menstrual irregularities
Pain during intercourse

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