Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynaecological cancer and is there are no early detections. It is known as a silent killer in woman, claiming one life every eight hours in Australia.
Unlike other cancers, there is no early detection test and a pap smear will not diagnose ovarian cancer. Less than 25% of women with ovarian cancer will survive beyond 5 years.
What Is Ovarian Cancer?
Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the ovaries. Abnormal cells in the ovary begin to multiply out of control and form a tumor. If left untreated, the tumor can spread to other parts of the body. This is called metastatic ovarian cancer.
Types of Ovarian Cancer
There are 3 types of ovarian cancer. The most common type of ovarian cancer is epithelial ovarian cancer. Epithelial cells form the outer covering of the ovary and this is where the cancer starts.
Over 80 per cent of women with ovarian cancer have epithelial ovarian cancer.
Other types of ovarian cancer include:
Germ cell ovarian cancer – this starts in the egg producing cells within ovaries. This type of cancer accounts for about 4 per cent of ovarian cancers 2 and usually affects women younger than 30.
Sex-cord stromal cancer – this develops in the cells that produce female hormones, oestrogen and progesterone. Sex-cord stromal cancers can occur at any time and account for less than 1.5 per cent of ovarian cancers.2
What Are The Symptoms
In early stages Ovarian cancer is hard to detect as most often there are no obvious signs.
The most common symptoms include:
- abdominal bloating
- difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
- frequent or urgent urination
- back, abdominal or pelvic pain
- constipation or diarrhoea
- menstrual irregularities
- pain during sexual intercourse.
- unexplained weight loss or weight gain
Risk Factors For Ovarian Cancer
It is unknown what causes Ovarian Cancer but the following factors can increase your risk:
- a family history of ovarian cancer
- genetic mutations of genes associated with ovarian cancer, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2
- a personal history of breast, uterine, or colon cancer
- the use of certain fertility drugs or hormone therapies
- no history of pregnancy
How Ovarian Cancer Is Treated
Treatment will vary from person to person depending on how far the cancer has spread and what stage it is at. The most common treatments are radiation and chemotherapy but in some cases surgery or targeted therapy is possible.
The goal of surgery is to remove the tumor, but a hysterectomy, or complete removal of the uterus, is often necessary. Your doctor may also recommend removing both ovaries and fallopian tubes, nearby lymph nodes, and other pelvic tissue.
We Are Here To Help
If you have any signs or symptoms that you are worried about or there is a history of cancer in your family come see us and your GP will discuss options with you and recommend thorough examinations and testings. Book Here