Here are the facts you need to know about ovarian cancer. According to Healthline, there are more than 22,000 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the United States each year. Of those diagnosed, 14,000 die from this disease. When abnormal cells of the ovaries multiply, ovarian cancer can form. This form of cancer can grow rapidly, spreading to other areas of the body.
There may be warning signs of having ovarian cancer, but they tend to be less obvious. These signs may resemble normal body changes as ovarian cancer grows.
Understanding these warning signs may help you detect ovarian cancer. If detected early, you are more likely to fight this disease. Here are the facts you need to know about ovarian cancer.
Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors
Although women can develop ovarian cancer at any age, there are some factors that particularly put women at risk for developing ovarian cancer.
The presence of such risk factors do not necessarily mean you will develop ovarian cancer, but it does mean that there is an increase in odds. Here are some common risk factors for ovarian cancer that may increase your chance of developing this disease, according to the American Cancer Society:
- Being 63 years old or older may put you at risk.
- Obesity and being overweight.
- Having children at age 35 or older.
- A history of pre-term labor.
- IVF treatment and the use of fertility drugs.
- Menopausal hormone therapy.
- A family history of related cancers such as ovarian, breast, or colorectal cancer.
- A genetic mutation of BRCA1 or BRCA2.
- Tabacco use.
A history of ovarian cysts may also increase your risk of developing ovarian cancer. Although rare, some ovarian cysts can be cancerous. It is important to monitor your ovarian cysts with your doctor to ensure early detection of ovarian cancer, should it ever develop.
If you are a smoker or overweight, making lifestyle changes may decrease the risk of developing ovarian cancer. Certain factors cannot be changed, but closely monitoring your health may be beneficial.
Early Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
Early symptoms of ovarian cancer may be difficult to detect. Signs of ovarian cancer are less obvious in the earlier stages.
According to Healthline, early symptoms of ovarian cancer may come and go, making them extremely subtle, making you think they have gone away. Common symptoms include:
- Bloating of the abdomen
- Abdominal pain and pressure
- Feeling of fullness
- Trouble eating
- Increase in urination
- Urge to urinate more often
Symptoms become more obvious as ovarian cancer progresses. These symptoms include:
- Feeling fatigued
- Heartburn and indigestion
- Back pain
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Pain during intercourse
- Talk to your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. The earlier diagnose, the better the prognosis.
Ovarian Cancer Treatment
Detecting ovarian cancer can be difficult. Treatment is more effective if the disease is caught early.
Your doctor will assess the progression of the cancer and determine its stage to come up with a treatment plan that is best for you. There are many treatment options which include:
- The use of chemotherapy - strong drugs that kill cancer cells.
- Radiation therapy - The use of radiation to kill cancer cells.
- Surgery - A hysterectomy is commonly performed. Surgery can also remove cancerous growths.
- Targeted therapy - Medications that target cancerous cells only.
- Hormone therapy - The use of hormone drugs may be used to reduce cancerous cells.
A combination of different treatments may be used. This all depends on your individual diagnosis and needs.
There are other treatment options which include more holistic approaches. Always ask your doctor before starting any natural treatment methods.
Early detection will help your chances of eliminating ovarian cancer. Remember the warning signs and other facts you need to know about ovarian cancer.