Ovarian Cancer Symptoms and Causes

Ovarian Cancer Symptoms and Causes

Ovarian cancer may start in the ovary’s germ system, stromal, or epithelium. Germ cells develop into eggs. The substance of the ovary consists of stromal cells. Its epithelial layer is surrounded by stromal cells.

Ovaries are small, almond-shaped organs located on either side of the uterus. They produce eggs. Several different types of ovarian cancer can occur in the ovary. Ovarian cancer treatment usually involves chemotherapy and surgery.

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer 

discomfort in the abdomen

Early-stage ovarian cancer symptoms may include:

  • Pain or discomfort in the abdomen or pelvis
  • A frequent, urgent need to urinate
  • Difficulty eating
  • Quickly feeling full when eating
  • Frequent bloating

These symptoms have a sudden onset. They feel different from normal digestion or menstrual discomfort. They also don’t go away.

Other symptoms of ovarian cancer may include:

  • Weight gain
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • A change in the menstrual cycle
  • Lower back pain
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Acne
  • Constipation
  • Indigestion
  • Back pain that worsens

If you have these symptoms for longer than two weeks, you need to seek medical assistance. 

obesity

Causes of Ovarian Cancer

The risk of developing ovarian cancer increases with age, especially in those aged 65 and over. Anyone with ovaries can get ovarian cancer. This includes women, trans men, non-binary people, and intersex people with ovaries. You may have a higher chance of getting ovarian cancer if you:

  • Are obese or overweight 
  • Are taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • Have never used any hormonal contraception 
  • Had radiotherapy treatment for a previous cancer
  • Had breast cancer or bowel cancer 
  • Smoke 
  • Started your periods at a young age or went through menopause late, or have not had a baby 
  • Inherited a faulty gene such as those linked to Lynch syndrome or BRCA genes 

Treatment for Ovarian Cancer

Cancer treatment is aimed at removing as much cancer from your body as possible. The treatment for ovarian cancer often involves the removal of your reproductive organs and any cancerous organs, including a segment of the intestine and the omentum which is a fatty covering of the intestine.

Laparoscopic surgery can be used to remove ovarian cancer. During this procedure, other organs where cancer may have spread can also be removed. Depending on the extent of your cancer at the time of diagnosis, your healthcare provider may recommend chemotherapy either before or after surgery. Chemotherapy is a treatment that targets and kills cancerous cells.

A health care provider will want to observe you regularly after ovarian cancer has been treated. Routine appointments may be scheduled overtime to check for cancer recurrence. The provider may examine you during these appointments and discuss any possible symptoms. Be aware of any symptoms you may be having and tell your health care provider about them. Sometimes, your provider may order imaging tests, usually a CT scan. 

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