Feb 20, 2017

What are the early signs and symptoms of Ovarian Cancer?

ovarian cancer

What is Ovarian Cancer

Fundamentally, ovarian cancer is the cancerous growth of cells in the ovary. Most of the ovarian cancer emerge from the epithelium (also known as the outer lining) of the ovary. According to American Cancer Society, ovarian cancer is the 8th most common cancer among women in the United States of America. Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in deaths resulting from cancer in women, which accounts for more deaths than any other form of cancer of the female reproductive system, which includes uterine, ovarian and cervical cancer. The risk to develop ovarian cancer that a woman carries during her full lifetime is 1 in 75.

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

Like most of the cancer forms, ovarian cancer also does not depict many symptoms in the initial stages. In fact, many times there are no visible or noticeable ovarian cancer symptoms at all! Women are more likely to experience ovarian cancer symptoms if cancer has spread beyond the ovaries of the patient.

Sometimes the patient attributes her symptoms to other disorders, like a temporary bladder problem, premenstrual syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome. So how does one differentiate between ovarian cancer with other possible problems? The answer lies in monitoring the worsening or improvement of the ovarian cancer signs over a period. Also, the patient should go for ovarian cancer test to be sure of the situation and take remedial steps.

Below mentioned are possible early symptoms of ovarian cancer:

  1. Pain in the pelvis
  2. Pain in the lower stomach
  3. Pain on the lower side of the body
  4. Back pain
  5. Abdominal swelling
  6. Feeling full quickly when eating
  7. Pain during sexual intercourse
  8. Frequent and urgent urination
  9. Changes in the menstrual pattern
  10. Indigestion and heartburn
  11. Changes in bowel routine

Gradually as the ovarian cancer progress, symptoms of ovarian cancer also increase. Some possible symptoms are:

  1. Extreme weight loss
  2. Nausea
  3. Fatigue
  4. Breathlessness
  5. Loss of appetite

If a woman experiences pain in the abdomen, pelvis, bloating or pressure that continues for over a week, she should immediately consult a doctor and go for an ovarian cancer test. These days, with the advent of technology, one can also opt for ovarian cancer test online. The patient can avail Dr Lal PathLabs online test and go for ovarian cancer test online. It saves a lot of effort as well as time thereby simplifying life and bringing healthcare at your fingertips! These days, many people are opting for ovarian cancer test online to avoid standing in long queue for health tests and later for reports.

Causes of Ovarian Cancer

Like many other cancers, ovarian cancer is caused by abnormal division and multiplication of cells in an uncontrolled manner. But having said that, the exact cause of ovarian cancer is still unknown. However, there are some risk factors that are linked to higher chances of developing ovarian cancer.

1. Family history

Women who have had close relatives who developed ovarian or breast cancer have a higher risk of contracting ovarian cancer.

2. Age

Almost 50 percent of the women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer happen to be 63 years or older.

3. Very high lifetime ovulations

There is a connect between the total number of lifetime ovulation during a woman’s life and the risk of her developing ovarian cancer. The major factors that influence the risk of ovarian cancer:

a) The more times a woman has got pregnant, the lower is her risk of developing ovarian cancer
b) Women who have never taken contraceptive pills are at a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer
c) Women who begin to menstruate at an early age are at a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer
d) Women whose menopause phase start later than average age are at a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer

4. Infertility or infertility treatment

Certain studies have linked infertility and infertility treatments with a higher risk of ovarian cancer, though it is not yet sure if the cause is infertility, infertility treatment or both.

5. Breast Cancer

Some studies and research have suggested that women have breast cancer have a higher chance of developing ovarian cancer.

6. Obesity

Being overweight increases the risk factor for developing many diseases, including ovarian cancer.

7. Endometriosis

Studies have shown that women who have endometriosis have 30 percent higher risk of developing ovarian cancer on an average as compared to women who do not have endometriosis.

8. Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormone Replacement Therapy proliferates the risk of developing ovarian cancer for a woman. Researchers have suggested that the risk escalates the longer Hormone Replacement Therapy continues and comes back to normal as soon as the treatment terminates.

Protective Factors

Though there is nothing that can give a water tight protection from ovarian cancer. However, few factors are considered to prevent and protect a woman from developing ovarian cancer. These are called ‘protective factors’. Studies have shown that the below-mentioned factors are linked with low risk of ovarian cancer and are hence called protective factors.

  1. Removal of the uterus
  2. Removal of ovaries
  3. Having fallopian tubes tied
  4. Having babies and breastfeeding
  5. Using oral contraceptive use
  6. Physical activity
  7. Intrauterine Device (IUD)
  8. Diet rich in Vitamin A, C, D and E
Examination and tests to detect Ovarian Cancer

If a woman experiences symptoms of ovarian cancer, it is strongly recommended that she should go for ovarian cancer test or opt for ovarian cancer online test.

The doctor examines the patient physically initially after taking her history into consideration. The physical examination is done to identify signs of ovarian cancer. It is noteworthy that this physical examination is only a part of ovarian cancer test.  This examination includes an enlarged ovary on a pelvic exam and signs of signs of fluid in the abdomen, which is called ascites.

Based on the symptoms and physical examination, ovarian cancer test further includes certain specific imaging tests. Imaging tests are a part of ovarian cancer tests like Computed Tomography (CT Scan) and ultrasound studies. These ovarian cancer test suggests and confirms if a pelvic mass is present or not. Though these ovarian cancer test can’t validate if the pelvic mass is cancer or not, but it is still very useful if the doctor is trying to assess if the ovarian cancer has spread or metastasized to other tissues and/or organs in the body.

–    Ultrasound

Ultrasound is usually the first of the ovarian cancer tests to detect if there is a problem in the ovaries. It helps to find out ovarian tumor and seeing whether it is a solid mass tumor or a cyst filled with fluid. It can also be used to get a clear picture of the ovary.

–    Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

Though CT Scan do not show small ovarian tumor clearly, it can detect large tumors and find out if the tumor is spreading to the nearby parts. CT Scan thus is an important and integral part of an ovarian cancer test.

–    Chest X-Ray

Cancer is primarily the abnormal growth of cells. Sometimes the cancerous multiples and spreads to different parts of the body. During ovarian cancer test, chest X-Ray is done to find out if ovarian cancer has spread to the lungs of the patient. If this happens, it can cause one or more tumors in the lungs and can also cause fluid to accumulate around the lungs.

–    Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan

In this ovarian cancer test, sugar (radioactive glucose) is given to analyze cancer in the patient’s body. Since cancer cells utilize body glucose at a rate higher than normal tissues, the radioactivity will tend to focus in cancer. A scanner is used in this ovarian cancer test which can spot radioactive deposits in the body. This ovarian cancer test is more effective when it is combined with a CT Scan. It is known as PET/CT Scan.

–    Laparoscopy

This ovarian cancer test can aid in planning surgery or any other treatment for ovarian cancer. It can help in finding out the stage of cancer by detecting how far cancer has spread.

–    Biopsy

Biopsy is the only ovarian cancer test that can determine if growth is cancer or not. For ovarian cancer, biopsy is most commonly done by removing the cancerous tumor.

–    Blood tests

A patient must go for a blood test to ensure that her body has sufficient red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. In this ovarian cancer test, one must undergo tests to ascertain liver and kidney function along with general health condition. The doctor can also ask the patient to go for CA-125 test, as per the condition and health status of the patient.

Depending on the health condition and growth of cancerous cells, the doctor advise to go for specific ovarian cancer tests. However, since ovarian cancer does not show any signs or symptoms, one must notice any change mentioned above. In case there is any doubt, the woman must go for specific tests for ovarian cancer prognosis. Healthcare has been simplified to a huge extent and one can now even avail ovarian cancer test online. By opting for ovarian cancer test online, the patient can keep a tab on her health as well as save precious time and energy. Dr Lal PathLabs offer a wide variety of ovarian cancer tests that can help the doctor in deciding the course of treatment for the patient.

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