Differences between ovarian cancer and cysts
It is indeed a common doubt among people as to whether ovarian cysts in a woman could turn out to be cancerous and if not, how to decide whether the cysts are cancerous or not. The truth of the matter is that ovarian cysts rarely turn out to be cancerous or even make way for the growth of ovarian cancer in a woman. There are a set of distinct differences that exists between ovarian cancer and ovarian cysts.
- Physical formation – Ovarian cysts are small sacs filled with a fluid matter that are formed either inside, outside or on the wall of the ovaries. They are also called functional cysts that are routinely found in the ovaries. They rarely pose a threat to the body and thus, perceived as harmless. Ovarian cancer develops from the cancer cells that shed away from the primary tumour that they once belonged to. Once the formation of cells in the ovaries becomes disrupted, the cells combine to form tumours. The tumours can be benign (harmless) or malignant (harmful). Ovarian cancer develops from the cells that form malignant tumours inside the ovaries.
- Formation in women – Although ovarian cysts found in women of all age groups, age group of 18 to 35 is most vunerable. These cysts are also found in women at the time of pregnancy, although such cysts need to be closely monitored by the doctors. It is usually observed that these cysts recede back in a few weeks. Ovarian cancer is mostly seen in women above the age of 50 and especially in those who have undergone menopause. It is very rarely seen in young women. The occurrence of this cancer has been found to be more in women who are childless, rather than those with children.
- Danger to the body – As stated above, ovarian cysts are rarely found to be a threat to the body and are mostly benign. Although, it still does not rule out a medical check up to confirm whether the cyst is benign or malignant. Ovarian cancer, on the other hand, is life threatening and needs to be treated as soon as possible. Once the cancer enters the third stage, treatment options become limited and the road to recovery for the patient becomes rough and troublesome.
- Treatment options – There are treatment options available for ovarian cancer as well as ovarian cysts. As the cysts are mostly benign, a few doses of medication would do the trick. If the cysts are found to be malignant, surgery may be needed to remove them. In the case of ovarian cancer, surgical treatments followed by chemotherapy and other radiation treatments are needed. Chemotherapy has a lot of side effects including loss of hair and can be quite painful.
Read more articles on Ovarian Cancer Signs and Symptoms
Source: Onlymyhealth editorial team Feb 18, 2012
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