The cells in our body naturally have the ability to divide a limited number of times. Sometimes problems can occur leading to uncontrolled growth and the propagation of normal or changed cells which form a tumor.
These cells may have the ability to spread to other areas of the body. In this case the condition is called cancer. Cancer can develop in each part of the body (even in the blood) but in the majority of cases it affects people’s skin, reproductive system, respiratory organs or digestive tract.
It’s not uncommon for malignancy to start in a woman’s ovaries. This pair of glands are located in the lower abdomen. They normally release eggs, giving you a chance to get pregnant and produce sex hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Depending on the type of cells, where the tumor primarily starts specialists discern epithelial, stromal and germ cell tumors. According to the American Cancer Society ovarian cancer is diagnosed in more than 22 000 American women annually.
That’s why it is so important to be well-informed about this problem and your potential risks. We are going to prevent you with some ovarian cancer facts that every woman should know about:
#1. Your risks of ovarian malignancy increase after your 40s. It’s mainly about age-related hormonal changes. In this period of a woman’s life the levels of estrogen and progesterone decrease gradually until the ovaries stop producing these chemicals at all (it’s called menopause, you know).
#2. Those, who never fell pregnant or had a baby after the age of 35 are more likely to develop ovarian cancer.
#3. Birth control pills were recognized as lowering your hazards of ovarian malignancy. This benefit is available even after you stop taking oral contraceptives.
#4. Several studies show that taking hormone replacement therapy (especially estrogen monotherapy) can significantly boost your risk of ovarian cancer development.
#5. Experts reveal a close link between genetic mutations in BRCA1, BRCA2 and malignant ovarian neoplasm occurrence.
#6. It’s difficult to catch ovarian cancer in the early stages because the symptoms are nonspecific. Most women don’t pay much attention to their bloating, pelvic or abdominal soreness, back pain and indigestion. It’s worth knowing that an increased need to urinate, painful intercourse, unexplained fatigue, unintentional weight loss and menstrual changes may be caused by ovarian cancer.
#7. Ovarian malignancy is staged, depending on its extension and the existence of metastasis. In the first stage it only affects the ovaries or fallopian tubes. If cancerous cells are found in other pelvic organs such as the uterus, bladder and rectum it means that the disorder has reached the second stage. In the third stage malignancy covers not only the ovaries or fallopian tubes but also tje abdominal lining and/or the lymph nodes, located in the back of the abdomen. The last (fourth) stage is the most advanced as the cancerous cells metastasize to the organs which are situated out of the peritoneal cavity (spleen, lungs, liver etc.)
#8. Experts recommend against regular screenings for ovarian cancer as according to statistics these tests don’t lower the number of disease-related deaths. However, women with dramatically high risks and/or symptoms of ovarian cancer can be screened by transvaginal ultrasound and the CA-125 blood test.
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