Cancer of the ovaries

Ovarian cancer most frequently occurs in post-menopausal women. If detected in an early stage, there is a the greater chance of  full recovery, whereas the possibility of recovery decreases as stages progress.

How does it occur?

In 90 percent of cases ovarian cancer occurs from epithelial cells.

What are the risk factors?

It is difficult to determine the risk factors that cause ovarian cancer. In 5-10 percent of the cases the cause is hereditary. The risk increases if two or more family members suffer from breast or ovarian cancer. Increased risk factors for ovarian cancer include older women who have never given birth, and women who could not get pregnant on the account of endometriosis.

What are the symptoms?

Signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer are frequently absent during an early stage, hence the cancer,  in two thirds of the patients is diagnosed at more advanced stages. Because this cancer manifests no apparent symptoms, it has a longer growing period in the abdominal cavity and doesn't  interfere with the patient daily activities. However, bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, a sudden feeling of fullness and urinating problems are some of the symptoms of this type of cancer. Some patients experience digestive problems. Recently, it is believed that a drastic weight loss is an additional symptoms.

How is it diagnosed ?

Ovarian cancer is diagnosed by gynecological examination. Using ultrasound, the gynecologist can diagnose an ovarian tumor, and determine, by the manifestation of certain features,  whether the tumor is malignant or benign. After the gynecological examination, if ovarian cancer is suspected, blood is analyzed for presence of tumor markers.  If their level is increased, this suggests the existence of ovarian cancer. Computer tomography and magnetic resonance imaging are performed as additional diagnostic procedures. The final diagnosis is made after surgery, when surgical specimen is examined histopathologically ( with microscopic examination) in order to determine the type, the extent and the progression of the cancer and to suggest. Further treatment is then recommended.

What are the treatment options?

Surgery is suggested as treatment for ovarian cancer. Patients undergo a surgical intervention with particular surgical characteristics. Patients diagnosed at an early stage of the disease do not require other treatment aside from surgery. For the remaining patients, treatment continues with chemotherapy or radiotherapy.


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