Cancer occurs when abnormally growing cells arise in the body. This cancer can happen in any part of your body. Ovarian cancer is a form of abnormal growth that occurs in the ovary. Every cell goes through its life cycle they grow, divide and are replaced. Cells can even die from “programmed death” when they cease functioning or outlive their usefulness. Sometimes, however, cells can increase or stop dying when they should. Abnormal growth of cells can lead to problems and, in most cases, a tumour. A tumour may be cancerous (malignant) or benign (non-malignant).
Different types of malignant and benign tumours behave differently in the body. A benign tumour does not spread throughout the body, and it grows slowly over time and stays in the same place. It may be recommended by your healthcare provider to monitor it for a while or to remove it surgically. Slightly diagnosed tumours do not pose a danger to your health immediately. Malignant tumours can be more dangerous, and they can increase and spread to other body areas, creating more problems. It is a form of cancer that occurs when malignant (cancerous) cells grow in the ovaries.
Your reproductive system includes the ovaries. The ovaries can be viewed as an upside-down triangle of organs that make up your reproductive system. They are the two round organs at the top corners. Your ovaries, which are about the same size as walnut, are connected to your uterus. There are also two tubes called the fallopian tube between them. The bottom point of the triangle is the uterus. The bottom end of the triangle is the uterus. Eggs are formed during your reproductive years, which is when you may become pregnant.
CAUSES AND SYMPTOMS OF OVARIAN CANCER
What causes ovarian carcinoma?
It is unknown what causes ovarian cancer. If you are a woman with ovarian cancer, your chances of getting it may be higher.
• If you have a family history of ovarian carcinoma (or other family members have the disease), or if you have inherited a gene mutation (BRCA1 and BRCA2).
• Never been pregnant.
• Had endometriosis.
• Had breast or uterine.
As you age, there is an increase in developing ovarian carcinoma.
Lynch syndrome is another risk factor. Lynch syndrome is a genetic disorder that runs in families, and it can increase your risk of developing colon cancer. Lynch syndrome can be linked to other types of cancer, and Lynch syndrome increases your chance of developing different types of cancer. Lynch syndrome can be inherited. Talk to your family about any history of colon this cancer.
What are the signs and symptoms of ovarian carcinoma?
Ovarian cancer can progress, grow to a large size, and spread throughout the abdomen without causing any symptoms. Early detection can be difficult due to this. Symptoms can include:
- Feeling pain in your pelvis and abdomen.
- Changes in your eating habits include feeling fuller, less hungry and more satisfied. Sometimes, you may feel bloated and belching.
- Abnormal bleeding or vaginal discharge, mainly if it occurs outside your normal menstrual cycle or after you have experienced menopause.
- Any unusual lumps you feel or an increase in your abdomen size.
- Urinary frequency or urgency
What do genes have to do with ovarian carcinoma?
Genes are an integral part of your DNA, and they are the blueprint that your cells use to reproduce. Each person is born with a specific genetic makeup, and you can influence your genes by the traits you inherit from your family or genetic changes over time. These are known as mutations, and BRCA1 and BRCA2 are two of the most prevalent gene mutations linked to ovarian cancer.
You inherit a portion of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes from your parents. Your genes are two pieces, meaning you have two parts of each gene. There are two parts to BRCA1. A mutation in one gene could lead to cancer. Cancer can still develop if one or both of the genes are mutated. BRCA1 or BRCA2 suppress the growth and spread of cancerous cells. These genes are prevented from performing their jobs and prevent abnormal cell growth by mutations. Breast cancer is also linked to BRCA1 as well as BRCA2.
Gene mutations can be inherited but not always. Your genes may change throughout your life, and one that occurs over time is called a somatic mutation. A somatic mutation in the TP53 gene is a common genetic mutation seen in ovarian carcinoma. The mutation alters a portion of the gene, the protein p53 protein. This protein is usually used to prevent tumors from growing, and it can’t stop the growth of tumors if this mutation alters it. The exact process can occur to multiple genes in your body, which can contribute to cancer growth.
How can I find out if my family has gene mutations?
Your healthcare provider may recommend genetic testing if you have breast cancer or ovarian cancer history. This test will reveal any genetic mutations or other changes in your DNA. Early cancer treatment can be more straightforward by understanding your family history and genetic makeup. Talk to your healthcare provider to discuss your family history and what preventative measures can be taken to protect your health.
DIAGNOSIS AND TESTS OF OVARIAN CANCER
What is the diagnosis of ovarian cancer?
There are many screening tests available that can detect early signs of cancer. Many people are familiar with screening tests such as colonoscopy, mammograms, and pap smears. Unfortunately, there is no screening test for ovarian carcinoma. Usually, testing occurs after symptoms have developed. It is essential to understand your body and contact your healthcare provider if you notice anything unusual. Ovarian cancer symptoms can be complex and last for several weeks. It is essential to talk to your healthcare provider if you have persistent symptoms beyond two to three days.
The provider might start by asking you about your history. They may also conduct a physical exam that includes a pelvic exam. This exam checks for abnormal growths and enlarged pelvic organs. Your provider may provide more information to help you decide on the additional tests that may be required.
Other tests include
An ultrasound is an imaging procedure that uses sound waves to take a picture inside your body. You can do this on your skin (most commonly your abdomen) or with a wand. A transvaginal ultrasound is an internal ultrasound. These imaging tests are quick and painless. Your provider will examine your ovaries to determine if any growths or enlargements are present during the examination. All developments will be visible on the ultrasound, not just cancerous ones. This test is usually followed by additional tests to confirm your diagnosis.
The following imaging tests can also be used to diagnose ovarian carcinoma:
MRI Magnetic resonance imaging
CT scan (Computed Tomography).
PET scan for positron emission tomography
Blood checks look for the substance CA-125. A high level of CA-125 can indicate cancer. CA-125 levels in the blood can be expected even if there is cancer, and they may also be higher in some conditions that aren’t cancer. Blood tests can be used in conjunction with other tests to diagnose ovarian carcinoma.
Ovarian Cancer can be diagnosed during surgery. surgery and chemotherapy both are used to treat ovarian cancer.
Laparoscopy is a type o surgery in which a thin camera (laparoscope) is placed through an incision (small cut) in the abdomen. The scope is used as a guide, and additional ports are added to hold instruments. This allows the healthcare provider to assess cancer and perform staging biopsies. In some cases, the healthcare provider may even remove ovarian tumors.
How does ovarian cancer get staged?
Staging allows you to label how far your cancer spreads. Your provider will consider several factors when staging cancer.
The cancerous cells can affect which organs. Your provider will need to determine whether cancer has spread to the other ovaries, one or both.
There are several ways cancerous cells can spread throughout your body. Ovarian cancer spreads through the abdomen and pelvis, lymph nodes, blood vessels, or directly through the abdomen and pelvis.
There are four stages of ovarian cancer. The lowest stage is the most severe. The higher the severity of the condition, the lower the number.
This stage is broken into three sub-stages: stage IA, stage IIB, and stage IC. The first stage has cancer in only one ovary and one fallopian tube, and background IB includes cancer in either the ovaries or the fallopian tubes. Stage IC is cancer in either the ovaries or the fallopian tubes, and it’s located outside the ovary (on or near the ovary) or the peritoneal cavity.
There are a few more stages to Stage II. Stage IIA is when cancer has spread beyond the ovary to the uterus, and location IIB is when cancer has spread to nearby organs (peritoneal cavity).
Stage III This stage has three sub-stages. Stage IIIA is when cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and beyond the peritoneum cavity. Stage IIIB is the second stage. The tumor has grown to about 2 cm in size and spread beyond the abdominal area. Stage IIIC is when cancer has spread beyond the pelvis and is more than 2 cm in height. This stage could also affect the liver and other organs.
Stage IV is the most severe form of cancer, and this stage is when cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Stage IVA is near the lungs, while stage IVB can be found in lymph nodes in the groin.
It would be best to stage your condition to create a treatment plan so your healthcare provider can make it. This plan will be discussed with your healthcare provider, and you will discuss the best treatment options.
MANAGEMENT AND TREATMENT OF OVARIAN CANCER
How can ovarian cancer be treated?
In treating cancer, the goal is to eliminate as much of your body’s cancer as possible. Ovarian cancer treatment involves the removal of all your reproductive organs and any cancerous organs, such as the segments of your intestine and the “omentum” — a fat material that covers the intestines.
A laparoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that can be used to remove ovarian cancer. Laparotomy allows the doctor to open the abdomen with a larger incision and can remove the ovaries. This procedure can also remove any other organs affected by the spread of cancer.
Your healthcare provider might recommend chemotherapy before or after surgery, depending on multiple factors such as the extent of your cancer. Chemotherapy is a treatment that targets and kills cancerous cells.
Your healthcare provider will ask you to see them regularly after treatment for ovarian cancer. Routine appointments may be scheduled to ensure that the cancer has not returned. Your provider will examine you and go over any symptoms. Your provider may ask you about any symptoms you might be experiencing and help you identify them. Your provider might order imaging tests, such as a CT scan.
Do there exist different types of chemotherapy?
Your healthcare provider might recommend chemotherapy for platinum-resistant disease or platinum-sensitive disease. Patients who have had a positive response to platinum-based chemotherapy but have recurred six months or more later are thought to be platinum-sensitive. This means they have the highest chance of receiving the same treatment or a similar one again.
The response to second-line chemotherapy is generally more significant if the CFI (chronic fatigue interval) is longer. However, this treatment may not be as effective as the first. Second-line chemotherapy for recurrent or recurring ovarian cancer (cancers that come back) has the following goals:
- Improve your quality of living
- Reducing the time it takes for cancer to progress and symptoms to develop.
- Prolonging survival.
People who did not respond to initial chemotherapy or had recurrences within six months after receiving initial platinum-based chemotherapy (a brief chemotherapy-free interval, CFI) are considered to be suffering from a platinum-resistant or drug-resistant disease.
Can I prevent ovarian cancer?
There is no way to prevent ovarian cancer completely. Your risk of developing cancer later in life may be reduced by being healthy and living a healthy lifestyle (exercise, balanced diet, alcohol restriction). There are currently no screening tests to detect ovarian cancer, and many women don’t know they have it until their symptoms start.
Knowing your family history will help you plan for any increased risk of developing ovarian carcinoma. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have this type of cancer in your family. You may have to reduce the risk of having your tubes and ovaries removed if you have a genetic mutation like BRCA.
How can I lower my chances of getting ovarian cancer?
Ovarian cancer is less common in women who have had children and take oral contraceptives (birth control pills). You may be at a lower risk of developing ovarian carcinoma if you use birth control pills for more extended periods (at least five).
What is the outlook for ovarian cancer?
Your healthcare provider will require you to continue seeing them for regular visits even after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. These appointments will allow your healthcare provider to review any symptoms and address any concerns. It is crucial to be attentive to your body and inform your provider if you notice anything unusual. After ovarian cancer treatment, it is essential to observe.
Note from Ovarian Cancer
It is often challenging to recognize ovarian cancer because it can develop without symptoms. Cancer may grow even if you don’t know it. Ovarian cancer screenings are not available at this time. Understanding your family history and discussing any risk factors for ovarian carcinoma with your healthcare provider. Your provider can use this information to help you identify your risk factors and perform genetic testing. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you have any symptoms of ovarian carcinoma.