> What is an ovary?
The ovaries are part of the female reproductive system. They are two and appear as two glands, the size of an almond, located in the lower part of the pelvis. The ovaries are joined to the uterus by the fallopian tubes. During the menstrual cycle, the ovaries produce and release an egg, which will allow "eventual fertilization.
> Different types of ovarian cancer
There are several types of ovarian cancer:
- Epithelial cancer: the most common ovarian cancer.
- Malignant germ cell tumors.
Attention, we must not confuse benign ovarian cysts with malignant tumors (cancer). When a cyst is diagnosed, doctors have it analyzed to see if it contains cancer cells (biopsy). If they don't disappear naturally, the benign cysts can also be removed.
> What are the risk factors?
As with other types of cancer, there are certain risk factors for ovarian cancer and others that have yet to be scientifically verified, or that intervene in a more moderate way:
- Heredity (a case of ovarian cancer in the family), or a "genetic anomaly.
- A history of breast cancer (or a family case of ovarian cancer).
- No pregnancy or late pregnancy.
- In some women, the precocity of the first menstruation or the late age of menopause can be a risk factor.
- Certain studies tend to show that estro-progestative contraception would reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.
> Are there any symptoms?
Here is the biggest problem of ovarian cancer: the almost total absence of symptoms at the onset of the disease, which explains the frequent late diagnoses. Sometimes, however, some clinical signs may appear: disturbances in intestinal transit, abdominal pain, increase in the size of the belly, feeling of heaviness in the pelvis, discharge between cycles, frequent urge to urinate. Often, however, the " the only way to diagnose ovarian cancer is through a "careful gynecological examination."
> How to diagnose it?
During the visit, the gynecologist performs a vaginal palpation during which he will feel a more or less voluminous latero-uterine mass, which corresponds to the tumor. To confirm the diagnosis, the patient will need to undergo a scanner and an MRI. These tests will also allow you to observe the extent of the cancer. The tumor can also be discovered during a surgical ultrasound, done for other reasons.
> The stages of ovarian cancer
Based on the extent of the cancer, it is possible to diagnose its stage of evolution:
Stage I: only one of the two ovaries is affected by the tumor.
Stadium II:the cancerous tumor affects the ovary and other organs in the pelvis.
Stadium III: ovarian cancer has spread to the abdominal region and / or glands.
Stadium IV: some metastases are present in other regions of the organism.
> What are the treatments?
The earlier it is diagnosed, the easier it will be to cure ovarian cancer. Generally, both surgery and chemotherapy are needed.
First of all, a surgical procedure will allow to remove the tumor and also the parts of the organs affected by the metastases. If the tumor is too large, both the ovaries and the uterus will be removed.
In some cases, it will be necessary to subject the patient to one or more courses of chemotherapy after surgery, in order to eliminate the metastases that have not been surgically removed. Sometimes, it will be necessary to resort to a second surgery. ovarian cancer - as with all cancers - it is necessary to undergo regular checks, in order to keep the possible appearance of new metastases under control.
More information on the breast cancer
More information on thecervical cancer