Ovaries are located on each side of the uterus. Ovaries are the glands that contain germ cells called eggs. 2 ovaries are present in every woman as a part of her reproductive system. Ovarian cancer occurs when the healthy cells in ovary grow uncontrollably forming a mass of cells resulting in tumour formation. The ovarian cyst is generally formed on the surface of the ovary and is removed without any treatment. Ovarian cyst are non cancerous and can be removed easily.
Every year around 14000 – 15000 death occurs due to ovarian cancer. The survival rate is 5 years for ovarian cancer patients. The survival rate mainly depends on the severity of the cancer. The survival rate differs in benign and malignant cancer.
There are many different risk factors that may increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer.
- Age- Women of all age groups are at high risk of ovarian cancer. Women above 50 years of age are more likely to develop ovarian cancer. 68% of women suffering with ovarian cancer are older than 55 years of age.
- Genetics – Few ovarian cancer cases are reported to be caused due to genetic changes that have been inherited within the family. Mutation in genes often leads to breast cancer. Around 10-15% of ovarian cancer cases are caused due to gene mutations.
- Family history – Patient with a family history of ovarian cancer have about three times higher risk of developing the ovarian cancer.
- Obesity – Women who were obese in early adulthood are more likely to develop ovarian cancer. More number of obese women with ovarian cancer is more likely to die from the disease.
- Infertility – Women with unexplained infertility are at high risk of ovarian cancer.
The most common symptoms of ovarian cancer include:
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal bloating
- Weight loss
- Discomfort in pelvis area
- Menstrual irregularities
- Back pain
- Pain with intercourse
- Frequent need to urinate
Ovarian cancer can be prevented in cases where there is absence of family history or inheriting gene changes. People with a family history and genetic changes can also control the risk of ovarian cancer by the following methods:
- Taking birth control pills for a long period can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer in most of the patients. Women who take oral contraceptives for more than 3 years are less likely to develop ovarian cancer.
- Consuming a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.
- Breastfeeding can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer like in breast cancer. Women who breastfeed for around 6 months are at lower risk of developing ovarian and breast cancer.
- Pregnancy reduces the risk of ovarian cancer in many patients.
- Women with past history of hysterectomy or tubal ligation have a low risk of developing ovarian cancer.
- Surgery for removal of fallopian tubes is referred to as salpingectomy. Salpingectomy is recommended in few patients who are at high risk of ovarian cancer.