Overview

Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that affects the ovaries. The ovaries are part of the female reproductive system which produce eggs, and hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. Abnormal growth of ovary cell could mutate and transform into a tumor cell of the ovary.
Most ovarian cancer will be treated by surgical removal of the tumor and chemotherapy.

Different types of ovarian cancer
The types of ovarian cancer are determined by the type of cells they come from. The treatment options will depend on the types of ovarian cancer.
Types of ovarian cancer are:

  • Epithelial ovarian tumors. Is the most common type of ovarian cancer. This cell type developed at the outer surface of the ovaries. These could be benign or malignant tumors.
  • Ovarian germ cell tumor. Developed at the ova (eggs), this is a rare type of cancer and mostly benign; however, some tumors could be life-threatening if left untreated.
  • Ovarian stromal tumor. Is a rare type of ovarian tumor that usually present with abnormal vaginal bleeding. Commonly diagnosed at earlier stages.

Symptoms

Early stage of ovarian cancer may not present any noticeable signs or symptoms until the disease has progress, These are the symptoms of ovarian tumors:

  • Abdominal pain, bloating, or discomfort at the pelvic area.
  • Lump or change in size of the abdomen
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Change in bowel habit
  • Frequent urination

If you notice any of these symptoms, consult the gynecologist.

Causes

The cause of ovarian cancer is unknown but there are many risk factors that increase the risk of developing ovarian tumor. Generally, cancer starts when the cell’s DNA mutates. This mutation causes the cells to grow and divide rapidly outliving the healthy cells, and later on forms a tumor which can invade surrounding tissue or spread to other part of the body.

Risk factors

Factors that may increase ovarian cancer risk includes:

  • Age: Older age, puts people at risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  • Family History: First-degree relative (mother, sister or daughter) had ovarian cancer.
  • Genes: If you have genes that you have inherited from your parents such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, these also increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Obesity: People who are overweight or obese have higher risk to develop ovarian cancer.
  • Postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy: People who take postmenopausal replacement medication tends to increase risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  • Endometriosis: People who have endometriosis have a higher risk.
  • Age of menstruation: Early menstruation or late menopausal may increase the risk of having ovarian cancer.
  • No pregnancy: Person who never had been pregnant have higher risk to develop ovarian cancer.