Ovarian Cancer Symptoms
What are ovaries?
The ovaries are organs which help in reproduction in women. It is situated in the pelvis. A woman has two ovaries. They are located in the sides of the uterus.
The eggs for the reproduction are produced in the ovaries. Female hormones like estrogen and progesterone are also produced in the ovaries. These female hormones regulate the female body growth. These hormones play an important role in directing the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. It also helps in the development of body shape, breasts and body hair.
What is ovarian cancer?
A person is said to have ovarian cancer when the malignant cells are found in the ovary.
Types of ovarian tumors
There are mainly three types of ovarian tumors found in the ovaries. They are:
- Epithelial cell
- Germ cell
- Stromal cell
Epithelial cell: Epithelial cells are normally seen on the top of the ovaries. These types of tumors are mostly found in people with ovarian cancer. It contributes nearly 90 percent of the ovarian cancer cases.
Germ cell: Germ cells produce the eggs in the ovary.
Stromal cell: the female hormones are produced by the stromal cells like the germ cells produce the eggs.
The primary symptoms of ovarian cancer are:
- Lower abdomen discomfort
- Swollen lower abdomen
- Loss of hunger or no appetite
- Gas in the abdomen
- Digestion problems
- Sudden weight loss
- Poor bowel movement
- Feeling of urinating frequently because of tumor growth
- Vaginal bleeding
- Breathing problems due to fluid in the lungs
Ovarian cancer symptoms in the advanced stage
The symptoms might not show up if the ovarian cancer is in its advanced stage. The person might check herself for the symptoms periodically in the early stages and it is advisable to do the necessary check ups.
Factors which Increase the Risks of Ovarian Cancer Symptoms:
Family History of Ovarian Cancer:
A risk factor is anything that increases the risk of getting a disease. Mother, sister and daughter are the first-degree relative of a woman. If any of these family members suffers from ovarian cancer, there is an increased risk of developing this disease in the woman too. Risk is even higher when the second-degree relative like aunt or grand mother is a patient of this disease. Presence of two or more first-degree relatives with ovarian cancer also increases the risk by several times.
Inherited Gene Mutations:
Genes are chemical molecules present in the cells which carry the hereditary information from one generation to the another. In case of ovarian cancer, the influence of genes is observed in nearly 5 – 10 percent of all cases of this disease.
Research studies have identified three patterns of how this disease gets passed on from one generation to the another. They are ovarian cancer alone, ovarian and breast cancers and ovarian along with colon cancers. There are test developed and available for the family members with increased risk of this disease for beginning early diagnosis of the symptoms and treatment.
A surgery, technically called prophylactic oophorectomy is carried on a woman once she is diagnosed with this cancer. It involves removal of the ovaries. This procedure reduces the risks of developing this dreadful cancer. Young women with first-degree relative in their family can undergo this procedure to become safe from the ovarian cancer symptoms.
Ovarian Cancer Symptoms Statistics:
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death and the eighth most common cancer among women in the United States.
Connecticut, Vermont, Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Iowa, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Washington, Oregon, West Virginia and Wyoming are the states with highest rate of getting this cancer. According to available statistics, 13-16 percent woman from these states were diagnosed with this cancer in the year 2006.
Alabama, District of Columbia, Kansas, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Michigan, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode island,Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington are the states with highest death rate (9.1-9.6 percent) of woman because of ovarian cancer.