Disease Information for Ovarian Cancer/Carcinoma: Definition

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  • Ovarian Cancer is a malignant tumor that begins in the ovaries is called ovarian cancer; There are several types of ovarian cancer; Ovarian cancer that begins on the surface of the ovary (epithelial carcinoma) is the most common type; However, studies show that the following factors may increase the chance of developing this disease: Family history; First-degree relatives (mother, daughter, sister) of a woman who has had ovarian cancer are at increased risk of developing this type of cancer themselves; The likelihood is especially high if two or more first-degree relatives have had the disease; The risk is somewhat less, but still above average, if other relatives (grandmother, aunt, cousin) have had ovarian cancer; A family history of breast or colon cancer is also associated with an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer; Age; increases as a woman gets older; Most ovarian cancers occur in women over the age of 50, with the highest risk in women over 60; Childbearing; Women who have never had children are more likely to develop ovarian cancer than women who have had children; In fact, the more children a woman has had, the less likely she is to develop ovarian cancer; Women who have had breast or colon cancer may have a greater chance of developing ovarian cancer; Fertility drugs; Drugs that cause a woman to ovulate may slightly increase a woman"s chance of developing ovarian cancer; About 1 in every 57 women in the United States will develop ovarian cancer; Some studies have shown that breast feeding and taking birth control pills (oral contraceptives) may decrease a woman"s likelihood; These factors decrease the number of times a woman ovulates, and studies suggest that reducing the number of ovulations during a woman"s lifetime may lower the risk of ovarian cancer; Women who have had tubal ligation or have had their uterus and cervix removed also have a lower risk of developing ovarian cancer; In addition, some evidence suggests that reducing the amount of fat in the diet may lower the risk;

    Ovarian cancer often shows no obvious signs or symptoms until late in its development; Signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer may include: General abdominal discomfort and/or pain (gas, indigestion, pressure, swelling, bloating, cramps); Nausea, diarrhea, constipation, or frequent urination , Loss of appetite

    Feeling of fullness even after a light meal; Weight gain or loss with no known reason; Abnormal bleeding from the vagina ; Pelvic exam and Ultrasound ; CA-125 assay is a blood test used to measure the level of CA-125, ; Lower GI series, or barium enema, is a series of x-rays of the colon and rectum; CT (or CAT) scan ; performs a laparotomy (an operation to open the abdomen); If cancer is suspected, the surgeon performs an oophorectomy (removal of the entire ovary); This is important because, if cancer is present, removing just a sample of tissue by cutting through the outer layer of the ovary could allow cancer cells to escape and cause the disease to spread;

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