Ovarian Cancer: Risk Factors and Symptoms

ovarian cancer on CT scan

Ovarian cancer is a malignant growth of cells in the female reproductive system specifically in the ovaries. This malignant growth goes in most cases undetected until it propagation into the pelvic and abdominal area. When the disease reaches this advanced stage, treatment is very difficult with death as most probable outcome. When in initial stage, there is a high chance of cure, but unfortunately about 3/4 of ovarian cancer cases are an advanced stage at diagnosis.

Causes and risk factors

The causes behind ovarian cancer are not well known. Genetic factors, such as changes in DNA, are a risk factor for some cases. In general, cancer begins when a genetic mutation transform normal cells into abnormal cancer cells. Cancer cells multiply rapidly, forming a mass (tumor).

Risk factors

The main risk factors for ovarian cancer include:

  • Family history of the disease: Having a mother, sister or daughter had ovarian cancer will increase your risk. And if you have two close relatives with cancer, you will have a higher risk.
  • Genetic inheritance: the cancer can be caused by a genetic disorder that is passed from mother to daughter. These changes mainly occur in genes BRCA 1 and BRCA 2, used as markers in genetic testing.

But most women do not have these risk factors. Ovarian cancer appears more often in postmenopausal women. You may be more likely to have this type of cancer if:

  • You never had a baby.
  • You started your menstrual cycles before age 12 and went through menopause after age 50.
  • You are unable to get pregnant.
  • You get hormone therapy to treat symptoms of menopause.
  • You are administered fertility treatment.
  • You smoke.
  • You use an intrauterine device.
  • You have polycystic ovary syndrome.

Symptoms or signs

The disease seldom causes symptoms in its early stages. However, in some cases, they may appear:

  • regular or persistent swelling;
  • pain in belly or pelvis;
  • difficulty eating or appetite loss quickly feeling full while eating;
  • urinary disorders, such as having needs to pee urgently, or unusual frequent need to urinate.

If you have one or more of these symptoms, and this occurs almost daily for more than two or three weeks, schedule a medical appointment.

Other symptoms that affect some women with ovarian cancer include:

  • Feeling tired
  • Experiencing digestive disorders such as constipation and indigestion
  • Experiencing a back pain that worsens

But these symptoms does not necessarily indicate the presence of the tumor

Consult your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms that are causing concern. If you have a family history of ovarian or breast cancer, discuss this risk. It is also important to get gynecological exams every year in order to track any problems early.

Some Important Questions and Answers about Cervical Cancer

cervical cancer illustration

Women, mainly aged between 25 and 59 years, are in a period that specialists qualify “at risk” for developing cervical cancer. Therefore raising awareness as much as possible about this disease is of greatest importance.

1- What is the anatomy and function of the uterus and the cervix?

From the anatomical point of view, the uterus is composed of two main parts: the body and neck. The body has three layers: the myometrium, consisting of muscle tissue that makes up most of the uterine mass; the endometrium or mucous layer where periodic changes that end each month with menstruation take place; and the serosa layer coating the outside myometrium. The cervix consists of connective and epithelial tissue (site where settle most common cancers in this organ) , which opens at the top of the vagina through the external opening.

2- Why is the cervix susceptible to infection and the appearance of benign and malignant tumors?

As the cervix meets the top of the vagina, it is exposed to acquire a wide range of infections due to sexual intercourse with infected persons, besides having a high number of manipulations related to different procedures inside the uterus, such as placement of intrauterine devices, curettage for various reasons, childbirth, just to mention a few. The most common uterine fibroid tumor is benign, with excess estrogen as a possible causative factor. The most common malignant tumor of the uterus is the cervical cancer, with among others, infection with human papilloma virus as the main factor of its appearance.

3- Is it possible to prevent cervical cancer?

The cervical cancer prevention is possible as this disease is fundamentally linked to sexual behavior, and acquiring sexually transmitted diseases (HPV infection).

4- As cervical cancer usually grows slowly over a period of time, without symptoms that betray their presence, is it possible to diagnose it in its early stages? What procedures are performed for diagnosis?

Effectively, cervical cancer has a long period of evolution. Yes, it is possible to diagnose in its early stages. The ideal method for detection in the early stages is cytological (Pap smear), supplemented test, if necessary, by biopsy.

5- Is the cytological test painful? For who is it indicated and at what ages? What is the recommended period for re-examinations?

Taking a Pap smear is not painful. Women should start getting Pap test after 25 years if sexually active and then repeat it every three years.

6- In more advanced stages, what are the signs and symptoms that occur?

The most frequent symptoms are bleeding from the vagina, secretion of a bloody stench flow and pain in the pelvic area.

7- In dependence on the stage of the cancer, what treatments are used? Is it curable?

When diagnosed in early stages, ie stage 0 and 1, you can ensure virtually 100% cure. In more advanced stages, survivals of several years are achievable. However, depending on the stage that has been diagnosed, there are different methods of treatment: electrofulguration, cryosurgery, different surgical techniques and radiotherapy.

8- Can the treatment be postponed if detected during the pregnancy? Does labor have to be done in all cases by Caesarean section?

This depends on the age of the pregnancy and the stage of the cancer. In early stages, a caesarean section is not necessary.

Cervical Cancer: Early Detection and Prevention

woman ready for Pap smear

The cervical cancer is cancer that affects a woman’s genital area: the cervix, the part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. When a woman becomes infected with certain high risk types of HPV (human papillomavirus) and does not eliminate the infection, abnormal cells can appear on the cervix. If not discovered early and treated, they can become pre-cancers and after cancer. HPV is a virus that is easily transmitted from one person to another through genital contact. A coital intercourse is not necessary to become infected. 80% of women come into contact with HPV throughout their life.

Risk factors

Cervical cancer is not hereditary. HPV is the most important risk factor for developing cervical cancer.

Other risk factors are:

  • Early onset of sexual intercourse;
  • High number of sexual partners;
  • High-risk sexual partners;
  • Smoking;
  • HIV infection;
  • Other cervico-vaginal infections;
  • Hormonal contraception;
  • History of positive cytology;
  • Long period of time since the last cytology.

Early detection and prevention

The frequency of cervical cancer has declined sharply in developed countries over the past 30 years, this is partly due to performing regular Pap tests. At present, there are also vaccines against major HPV genotypes that have proven highly effective (almost 100%) in preventing infection of high-risk genotypes of HPV. Their administration is recommended by all international medical societies and is free (paid by the public system) for girls up to 14 years.

Gynecologic cytology vaginal reviews are the best method for early detection of cervical cancer. The Pap smear is used to detect existing abnormal cells in the cervix. The sooner these cells are detected, the sooner you can start to control their development and be less likely to develop cancer.

Recommendations to health professionals for cervical cancer prevention

  • It is recommended to provide advice on security in sexual contacts.
  • It is recommended that women aged 25-65 years get the Pap test performed; at first, 2 Pap tests annually and then every 3-5 years.
  • Women over 65 years without Pap smears in the last 5 years should get 2 Pap tests annually and, if they are normal, more interventions are not needed.
  • No screening will be offered in women who have not had sex, or women with total hysterectomy.
  • It is advisable to make an active search aimed at increasing the coverage of the target population.

Source

Cervical Cancer Prevention Tips

What is Atheroma

atheroma illustrated

As you know high concentration of total and bad cholesterol in the blood is considered a cardiovascular risk factor. Their progressive accumulation results in the formation of atheroma. Excess blood cholesterol is considered a risk factor that can induce heart disease, in some cases, if not treated in time, can lead to death. If this accumulation of cholesterol in the blood is maintained over time, formation of atherosclerotic plaques will be responsible for the cardiovascular complications.

What is plaque?

The plaque is an injury that occurs in the inner lining of an artery. Excess particles of LDL or bad cholesterol in the blood stick to the inner layer of the arterial walls. As a result, a portion of white blood cells called monocytes, come to the place where the injury occurred and stick to it, becoming macrophages.
If there are too many particles of LDL cholesterol, the macrophages rather than eliminating them, become part of them and become foam cells. They form a plate of dead macrophages, cholesterol, triglycerides and fatty acids, called atheroma. This atheroma reduces the diameter of the artery,thus limits blood passage.

Causes of atheroma formation

– High concentration of total cholesterol in the blood (greater than 200 mg / dl).
– High concentration of LDL cholesterol in the blood (greater than 100 mg / dl).
– High concentration of triglycerides in the blood (greater than 150 mg / dl).

Get information on the ideal cholesterol values on http://www.cholesterolmenu.com/cholesterol-levels-chart/.

The root causes of these are:
– Eating too much fat (saturated and trans fats);
– Eating little fiber;
Drinking alcohol a lot;
– Smoking and lack of physical activity.

If these abnormal lipid values in the blood are maintained over time, it can lead to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques, with all the consequences that this entails.

Consequences of the formation of atherosclerotic plaques

– Arteriosclerosis.
– Ischemia (dead tissue due to lack of oxygen).
– Embolus.
– Myocardial infarction.
– Stroke.
– Death.

Avoiding atheroma

– Quickly lower your triglycerides. Choose your foods to keep triglyceride levels under control: salmon, beans, fruits especially apples, grapes and melons, olive oil, spinach.
– Keep your bad cholesterol at bay. Make a proper diet to lower your bad cholesterol, one of the main triggers of atheroma formation in the arterial walls. Find tips for a cholesterol lowering diet on www.cholesterolmenu.com.
– Increase your good cholesterol. As important as reducing bad cholesterol is good cholesterol increase, since this is the way in which cholesterol is removed from the bloodstream. Choose foods (fatty fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel, fruits like apples and berries) that help you achieve it.
– Exercise routinely and quit smoking and alcohol consumption.

By changing eating habits and sedentary lifestyle, you will help greatly to reverse this situation and avoid the occurrence of cardiovascular complications that can endanger your life.

April Davis – Single Mom’s Fight with Ovarian Cancer

ovarian cancer chemotherapy

My name is April. I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer on May 8, 2014, at 34 years. Ten days later I was operated on where both ovaries, uterus, part of my intestine were removed as it was in stage III […]

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