Ovarian cancer is a melanoma originating from one or both ovaries. According to statistics, the incidence of ovarian cancer is about 4.6 / 100,000 women. The disease can occur at many ages but the most common in women over 50.
What is Ovarian Cancer?
The ovary is one of the female reproductive organs, each woman has 2 ovaries, they are located in the pelvis and are about the size of a thumb.
The function of the ovaries is to produce eggs involved in fertilization and produce female hormones including estrogen and progesterone. The two types of hormones secreted by the ovaries have an impact on a woman’s body development and are related to the menstrual cycle and pregnancy.
Ovarian cancer is a melanoma originating from one or both ovaries. Cancer cells are abnormal cells that grow out of control of the body and disobey the body’s needs. And these cancer cells can invade and destroy surrounding tissues and organs. Not only that, they can metastasize to distant organs in the body and cause secondary cancer in that organ.
Ovarian cancer forms include:
– Ovarian carcinoma is a cancer cell that develops from the cells on the surface of the ovary. This is the most common type.
– Germ cell cancer is a cancer originating from the cells that produce eggs, this type is less common than epithelial cancer.
– Ovarian cancer comes from the tissue cells that support the ovaries. This type is also less common.
Ovarian cancer is currently unknown. But studies show an association between the following factors that increase the risk of ovarian cancer:
Family history: People with blood ties such as mothers, sisters, younger sisters who have ovarian cancer. In a family with breast cancer, colon cancer also increases the risk of ovarian cancer.
Personal history: Women with a history of breast and colon cancer are at a higher risk for ovarian cancer.
Age: The likelihood of ovarian cancer increases with age, most appear in the age of 50 and increase in people over 60.
Pregnancy and childbirth: Women who have been pregnant and have children are at lower risk than those who have never had a baby. The more children you have, the lower your risk is.
Use of drugs to stimulate ovulation: May slightly increase the risk of ovarian cancer. However, it is still in the research process.
Alternative hormone treatment: Replacement of hormone therapy after menopause increases your risk.
Talcum powder: Women who use talcum powder a lot in the genital organs increase the risk of ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer, like most cancers, does not have early symptoms or signs, but it must be late to manifest clearly.
However, early signs of the disease may include:
- Unpleasant feeling, pain in the lower abdomen.
- Gastrointestinal disorders such as nausea, diarrhea or constipation.
- Frequent urination due to increased pressure on the bladder.
- Poor appetite, a feeling of fullness even after a light meal.
- Unexplained weight gain or loss
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding after menopause, abnormal changes during menstruation.
- Pain during sex.
Stages of development
At this stage, the tumor is confined to the ovaries or fallopian tubes and does not spread to other organs.
- 1A cancer stays in only one ovary or fallopian tube.
- 1B cancer has been in ovaries or fallopian tubes.
- 1C means the cancer is still inside the ovary or fallopian tube and has broken the surface of the ovary to the outside.
During this stage, cancer cells have begun to spread to the pelvic organs.
- 2A may spread to the uterus or fallopian tubes
- 2B is when it has grown into other nearby organs like colon, bladder or rectum.
For patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer, especially early-stage ovarian cancer, surgery is always the treatment of choice. During cancer surgery, the doctor will try to remove the maximum number of cancer cells, the remaining cancer cells can be treated with chemotherapy or radiation. Usually, the patient will have to remove the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix, and abdominal lymph nodes. But if the patient wants to have children, the doctor will try to preserve the parts that have not been invaded by cancer cells.
The method of using drugs to kill cancer cells is called chemotherapy. The drug can be given through an intravenous injection, taken orally, or taken directly into the abdomen through a catheter.
Chemotherapy is often prescribed to patients with advanced ovarian cancer or to help remove cancer cells that remain after surgery. After using the medication, the doctor may order the patient to examine tissue samples and fluids to assess response to the medication.
The drug not only affects cancer cells but also affects normal cells. Side effects of chemotherapy may include vomiting, nausea, hair loss, loss of appetite, tanning, fatigue… Some treatments for ovarian cancer can cause kidney damage. , so patients need a lot of fluids to protect their kidneys.
Radioactive rays may come from a machine outside the body or a radioactive solution is introduced into the patient’s abdomen.
Radiation can affect both cancer cells and normal cells. This method can lead to a number of side effects such as anorexia, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, diarrhea… Side effects usually depend on the dose and body area that is irradiated.
A healthy diet is a key not only to help prevent ovarian cancer but also to avoid many other diseases.
Eat plenty of foods that contain lots of natural fibre and vitamins: like greens, fruit cereals (mangoes, oranges, bananas, grapes, tomatoes, carrots …).
Also, stay away from greasy fried foods, do not smoke and do not drink alcohol.
What support can we give for Ovarian Cancer?
Ovarian Cancer is a rare cancer, meaning it is not as well known as other forms of cancer. Without a Ribbon is an Australian organization that provides support for individuals who suffer from rare cancers. We provide a designated platform for Warriors to obtain information specific to their Rare Cancer. We also provide annual opportunities for our Warriors to meet and learn from each other. If you suffer from a rare cancer such as Ovarian Cancer, we can help and support you through your journey thanks to the generous donations we receive. Click the link below to sign up and become a Warrior today!
You can help us with your donation:
Without a Ribbon is a charity that works hard to aid those who suffer from rare cancers. You can help our cause in a variety of ways:
Donations — Without a Ribbon is grateful when we receive every donation. Giving to Without a Ribbon helps us to provide ongoing support, organise the annual gathering and subsidise the costs of our Warriors attending these conferences.
Sponsorship — If you wish to sponsor our charity, please contact us using this form.
Volunteering — We are always looking for volunteers to help with different aspects of running our charity. So, if you are looking for volunteer work, please feel free to contact us.