Ovarian cancer, who killed actress Edith Gonzales, is one of the most severe types of cancer, with the lowest survival rate among all female cancers.
In Romania, ovarian cancer represents the fifth form of cancer as a frequency in women, with an incidence that is 50% higher than the world average – 9.4 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. More than 1,600 new cases of cancer are diagnosed annually and 980 deaths are reported, according to Globocan 2014. Women who have had their first pregnancy after the age of 40 have a higher risk of ovarian cancer 30 years, those with a tardive menopause, women who have infertility or who have had ovarian, colon or breast cancer in their family history.
Here are five things about this type of cancer that any woman should know about
– The most important risk factor for developing ovarian cancer is the family history of the disease. Chances of illness are three times higher for women who had at least one grade I (parent or sister) relative who had this type of cancer.
Studies have shown that the inheritance of a BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene defect increases the risk of a woman developing ovarian cancer by 10% to 40%. Normally, these genes have the role of preventing cancer cells, but if a person inherits these mutated genes, it becomes more susceptible to developing ovarian or breast cancer.
– Hormone replacement therapy. The administration of substitution therapy increases the risk and the specialists recommend in the incipient phase of treatment, only the minimal active doses;
– Lack of a hormonal contraceptive method. Oral contraceptives, used only for the physician's risk, lower the risk
– First menstrual period before 12 years. The appearance of menstruation before the age of 12 is a disorder of the body's normal;
– Infertility. Women with an active sex life but who fail to get pregnant many times are at increased risk
– Polycystic ovary syndrome. This syndrome may also be a risk factor because it involves the secretion of androgenic hormones specific to this type of cancer;
– Menopause installation after the age of 50 – the more women have menstrual cycles, the higher the risk;
One of the reasons why ovarian cancer is difficult to detect in the early stages is that the symptoms are similar to other conditions.
Here are some of the symptoms that should make you think:
– Discomfort or pelvic pain
– Severe indigestion or nausea
– Increase of the abdomen
– Vaginal bleeding
-Pain during sex
– Tiredness and drowsiness
– Menstruation disorder
To differentiate symptoms of ovarian cancer from those of other conditions, researchers have identified the frequency, severity and duration of the most unpleasant symptoms in ovarian cancer.
The association of abdominal pain with pelvic pain, with bloating, constipation, and abdominal enlargement often occurs in ovarian cancer. In about 43% of cases of ovarian cancer, all of these symptoms occur together.
For now there is no effective way to prevent this type of cancer, but balanced diet, exercise and stress reduction can help.
There are some methods that have proven that they can reduce the risk of a woman from developing ovarian cancer, including:
– Breastfeeding and pregnancy: the birth of one or more children, especially if the first pregnancy occurs after 25 years of age and breast-feeding are factors for protection against ovarian cancer;
– Tuberculosis: This is a surgical procedure in which the fallopian tubes are ligated to prevent pregnancy. It has been observed that this procedure reduces the relative risk of developing ovarian cancer. It is used especially in people with a very high risk of ovarian cancer and only after a discussion with a specialist doctor.
– Hysterectomy: This surgical procedure has been shown to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer and it may be necessary to have a family history of ovarian cancer or breast cancer or the person is over 40 years of age.
– Prophylactic ovariectomy: means the surgical removal of one or both of the ovaries. It has well-established guidelines, addressing only people with a very high risk of cancer.
It depends on several factors including tumor size, tumor type or other characteristics of the tumor.
Surgery is done to remove the ovarian tumor and other surrounding organs (if any) such as uterine or uterine tubes and represents the first binding step of the therapeutic sequence.
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are also used in the treatment of ovarian cancer to kill cancer cells.
Currently, recent research has shown that drug-targeted therapy with innovative mechanisms of action can provide clinical benefits to ovarian cancer patients.