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Ovarian Cancer


Ovarian cancer is the cancerous growth in ovaries. It is 5th leading cause of death in women due to cancer. It arises from outer lining of the ovary i.e by epithelium. The risk of cancer increases with age and decreases with pregnancy. It is usually common above the age of 50 yrs. It is mostly associated with the mutation in the BRAC 1 and BRAC2 genes. These genes are responsible for suppression of tumour i.e they are tumour suppressor gene and prevents the mutation of genes which can cause error in repair of damaged DNA. According to the structure present in the ovary, three types of ovarian cancer are known:
1. Ovarian epithelial carcinoma
2. Sex chord stromal carcinoma.
3.Germ cell tumour

Sometime it may happen that cancer arising from other parts of the body may get enter into the ovary due to migration by blood or lymph and gets embedded there. In this case the cancer in the ovary is secondary cancer not a primary one. Usually secondary cancer in ovary arises from the breast and gastrointestinal cancers.


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Exact cause of this is unknown but some of the various causes for the ovarian cancer are as follows:
1. Alcohol consumption of more than 50g can cause it. But usually there is no relation between alcohol consumption and ovarian cancer.
2. Genetics of an individual can increase the risk of ovarian cancer. The mutation in genes BRAC1 and BRAC2 causes cancer. These two genes are reported as tumour suppressor gene. A family history of uterine cancer, gastrointestinal cancer and colon cancer can confers the risk of ovarian cancer.
3. Use of fertility treatment i.e clomiphene, it is a drug use to treat fertililty, can cause high risk of ovarian cancer but the use of hormonal contraception decrease the risk of ovarian cancer.
4. Excessive milk consumption more than 4-5 glass of milk daily can also cause ovarian cancer.
5. High dietary fat content
6. Exposure to asbestos.

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Signs & Symptoms

Ovarian cancer is called a “silent killer” because symptoms were not thought to develop until the disease had advanced and the chance of cure or remission poor. However, the following symptoms are much more likely to occur in women with ovarian cancer than women in the general population. These symptoms include:

Pelvic or abdominal pain
Pain in the back or legs
Diarrhea, gas, nausea, constipation, indigestion
Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)
Pain during sex
Abnormal vaginal bleeding
Trouble breathing

If a woman possess some of them for daily for more than few weeks then she should consult a doctor for it. This will be helpful linearly detection of cancer as improvement in the disease is much better if it is diagnosed with early stages.

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Chemotherapy and Surgery Modern Medicine

Removal of ovaries (oophorectomy) is useful in the cancers that are confined to ovaries.
Chemotherapy is also done after the surgery to treat any residual disease. Chemotherapy is done first to treat the disease. In some cases both chemotherapy and surgery are used simultaneously.

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