Ovarian cancer is one of the five forms of gynaecological cancer, and it is important for women to be aware of the signs and symptoms. The ovaries are responsible for releasing eggs as part of the ovulation and menstrual cycle, and they are connected to the womb via fallopian tubes. The most common type of ovarian cancer is epithelial ovarian cancer, which affects 80% of cases. Other types include borderline tumours and germ cell ovarian tumours.
The exact cause of ovarian cancer is unknown, but it is more common in women over the age of 50 and can sometimes run in families. It is essential for women to be aware of the symptoms, as early diagnosis can greatly improve treatment outcomes. The main symptoms of ovarian cancer include bloating, fatigue, and back pain. Other symptoms can include indigestion, constipation or diarrhea, feeling tired all the time, and unexplained weight loss. If these symptoms are persistent, occurring 12 or more times a month, it is important to consult a doctor.
A visit to the doctor will involve questions about personal and family medical history, as well as a physical examination. Depending on the size and type of cancer, treatment options can vary. Surgery may be performed to remove the ovaries and fallopian tubes, or a full hysterectomy may be considered. Surgery is often combined with chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and other targeted therapies. Hormone therapy, which blocks the hormone estrogen that can promote the growth of ovarian cancer, may also be used.
It is crucial for women to be aware of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer and to seek medical attention if any concerns arise. Awareness and early detection are key in improving the prognosis of ovarian cancer.
– Macmillan: www.macmillan.org.uk
– NHS: www.nhs.uk