Ovarian cancer

From ArticleWorld

Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death in women with gynecological cancers and the fourth leading cause of death for women. Its exact causes are unknown, although more incidences of this cancer happen in industrialized countries. Japan, unusually, has a considerably lower incidence of ovarian cancer. Women over 55 have a higher incidence of this cancer. Having more children seems to lower the incidence of ovarian cancer, as do having pregnancies earlier, using oral contraception, and tubal ligation. Some Jewish women, women with a family history of it, and women who have had breast cancer all have a higher risk of ovarian cancer.


Symptoms of ovarian cancer are pelvic heaviness, weight change, changes in menstrual cycles, back pain that worsens, and increase in the size of the waist. Gastrointestinal symptoms that might indicated ovarian cancer are lower abdominal discomfort, gas, indigestion, nausea, lack of appetite, and bloating. Increased urination and unusual hair growth can also be indications of this cancer.

Diagnosis and treatment

CT scans and ultrasounds can be used to diagnose ovarian cancer, as can pelvic examinations, which should include a rectovaginal palpation examination, as well. Surgery is the usual form of treatment, for it is frequently necessary for diagnosis and gives a higher rate of cure for the patient. Chemotherapy is also used to kill any remaining cancer cells. Radiation is rarely used to treat ovarian cancer.

Unfortunately, because symptoms are general, ovarian cancer can spread before it is diagnosed. There is no specific screening for ovarian cancer, which adds to the chances that it will be discovered in the later stages. Since ovarian cancer is usually discovered in the later stages, prognosis is poor. Researchers continue to look for ways to improve diagnosis.