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Ovarian cancer: another enemy of women

Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common form of cancer in women. Although many women may die because of it, the good news is that if caught early, it is highly treatable and curable. If you want to learn more about ovarian cancer, do not stop reading.

When you think of cancer that affects women more, breast cancer always comes to mind. Many organizations around the world have mobilized to combat breast cancer and raise awareness about it. But there is another type of cancer, ovarian cancer, which also takes the lives of many women in the world, and it is necessary to speak to be able to detect it in time.

Why is it important to create more awareness about ovarian cancer? Because only 20% of the cases are detected in time, which is when they are most likely to be cured. According to data released by the American Cancer Society, when detected early, 93% of women survive.

Ovarian cancer, like all cancers, occurs when there is irregular cell growth. There are several hypotheses, including: that there are changes of DNA, that the increase in hormone levels before and during ovulation are the cause of the stimulus for the growth of abnormal cells or that there is a gene that inherits and is The cause of both breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, there are three basic types of ovarian tumors. The classification depends on which part of the ovary originally appeared. If they arise from the surface covering the ovary, which are the majority (between 8 to 9 out of 10 cases), they are called epithelial carcinomas; If they arise from the area where the eggs are produced, they are called germ cell tumors or gametes tumor and if they arise from the tissue that produces the female hormones (estrogen and progesterone), they are called stromal or stromal tumors, these are rare.

Who are the women most likely to develop ovarian cancer? It is a common question. The answer: those who have passed the menopause or who have never been pregnant. Women who have suffered from breast cancer may also have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. (These women have mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 as was the case with actress and director Angelina Jolie.) Women who have had colon cancer as well. Women over the age of 60 have a slightly higher risk. Some recent studies have also found a correlation with fertility drug use and the use of feminine hygiene powders.

Although it is believed to be a silent cancer because it is usually not detected until it has already spread to other parts of the body, there is evidence that ovarian cancer itself may have symptoms in its initial stage and for this reason it is very important that the Women are alert to the following warning signs:

  • Pain in the stomach or pelvis for several weeks
  • Abdominal swelling (bloating, distension) (feeling of gas)
  • Difficulty eating or feeling full very quickly
  • Urinary problems
  • Fatigue
  • Indigestion
  • Pain in the lower back
  • Changes in the menstrual cycle
  • Pain during sexual intercourse

These symptoms do not always mean you have ovarian cancer. They may also be associated with other conditions and that is why perhaps many women believe that it is something else, or they may not receive an accurate diagnosis.

How is ovarian cancer detected? The best way to detect it is by visiting your gynecologist for your routine annual exams: the Pap test and pelvic exam. If the doctor finds something suspicious he can perform an ultrasound to see if there are tumors. Sometimes cysts can be detected in the ovaries that are not necessarily cancerous. That is why the evaluation of the doctor is indispensable. If necessary, ovarian cancer is detected through a biopsy and a blood test.

Sometimes, a blood test that is the CA-125 is requested. This marker is not recommended for routine screening in people who are not at high risk for ovarian cancer since there are other situations in which they may be elevated (such as endometriosis, matrix fibroids, pregnancy, diverticulitis, sometimes up to During the normal menstrual period!). This marker is especially useful once the ovarian cancer has been diagnosed and treated for follow-up. If you have questions about this test, talk to your doctor.

And the treatment? The most common way to treat ovarian cancer is through surgery to remove tumors, ovaries and the uterus if the doctor recommends it. It is also commonly required to follow a chemotherapy treatment.

The key to the fight against ovarian cancer is to detect it early. Do not lower your guard and stay alert to the signals of your body. At the slightest suspicion that something is not right, visit your doctor.

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