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Ovarian cancer may be the fifth most common cancer among women, and it causes more deaths than any other kind of female reproductive cancer.
Listed below are five things every woman ought to know about ovarian cancer.
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Ovarian cancer is a comparatively rare, but deadly, cancer. The National Cancer Institute estimates 22,280 women will be identified as having ovarian cancer this season, and 15,500 women will die of the condition. (For comparison, the NCI estimates that 226,870 women will be identified as having breast cancer, and 39,510 women will die of this disease this season.)
Overall, 1 in 72 women will be identified as having ovarian cancer throughout their lifetime.
Ovarian cancer is more regularly diagnosed in white women than in women of other races. In the U.S., there are 13.4 cases diagnosed yearly for each 100,000 white women, 11.3 cases per 100,000 Hispanic women, and 9.8 cases per 100,000 black or Asian women.
The entire 5-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is 43.7 percent, however the survival rate varies with the stage of which a female is diagnosed. Based on the NCI, 91.5 percent of patients diagnosed prior to the cancer has spread survive at least five years, whereas only 26.9 percent of those diagnosed after the cancer has spread to other sites in the physical body survive five years.
Risk factors for ovarian cancer
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The single greatest risk factor for developing ovarian cancer is a family group history of the condition, based on the NCI. A woman’s threat of the condition triples if she’s at least one first-degree relative (a mother, daughter or sister) with ovarian cancer.
One reason that risk will run in families is that one families may have mutated versions of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. These mutations raise a woman’s threat of ovarian cancer: 15 to 40 percent of women who’ve a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation will be identified as having ovarian cancer during the period of their lifetime, whereas 1.4 percent of women in the general population shall be diagnosed. Women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations develop ovarian cancer before age 50 typically.
Still, 85 to 90 percent of ovarian cancer cases haven’t any clear genetic link.
Fertility drugs, hormone replacement therapy after menopause, and obesity have already been linked with an elevated risk of the condition also. Generally, a woman’s threat of the condition rises with age.
Ovulation and ovarian cancer
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A woman’s threat of ovarian cancer appears to improve with the amount of times over her life that she ovulates.
During ovulation, an egg is released from an ovary and swept right into a fallopian tube — and recent research shows that the fluid released from the ovary together with the egg contains growth factors and other molecules that damage the DNA of the close by fallopian tube cells, said Dr. Ronny Drapkin, an assistant professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School. Furthermore, the data implies that the deadliest ovarian cancers, called high-grade serous cancers, actually start when the cells at the ends of the fallopian tubes, not cells in the ovaries themselves, turn cancerous.
These findings describe the long-held observation that whatever lowers the amount of times a female ovulates also lowers her ovarian cancer risk, Drapkin said. Pregnancy, breast-feeding and contraceptive pills all halt ovulation, and studies have linked all those factors to a reduced threat of ovarian cancer.
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Among the reasons ovarian cancer is difficult to identify in its early states is that its symptoms act like those of other, more-common conditions, such digestive problems, based on the Mayo Clinic.
Here are a few symptoms of ovarian cancer:
- Abdominal pressure, or bloating
- Pelvic discomfort or pain
- Persistent indigestion fullness, nausea
- Changes or gas in bladder or bowel habits, such as for example constipation or a frequent have to urinate
- Lack of appetite or quickly feeling full
- Increased stomach girth or clothes fitting tighter around your waist
- A persistent insufficient energy
In ovarian cancer, symptoms have a tendency to last and worsen as time passes longer.
Due to the overall commonness of the symptoms, researchers have looked to recognize the frequency, severity and duration of symptoms connected with ovarian cancer, instead of other ailments. In a single study, published in 2004 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers compared women visiting a health clinic who didn’t have ovarian cancer with those that did.
They discovered that the mixture of stomach pain, pelvic pain, bloating, constipation and increased stomach size were more serious in women with ovarian cancer significantly. For instance, 43 percent of women with ovarian cancer had a mixture of bloating, increased stomach size and urinary symptoms, but only 8 percent of women without those symptoms were had by the cancer.
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No screening test has became effective in detecting ovarian cancer. Pelvic exams conducted by doctors might add a check of the ovaries, but these often don’t catch tumors until they have become large.
Transvaginal ultrasounds, and blood tests that gauge the degrees of a molecule called CA-125, have already been tried, but often too, these tests have not been accurate to regularly find cancer enough.
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