Ovarian cancer, a malignant tumor developed in the ovaries, is the most common form of cancer in women. The main cause of ovarian cancer is still unknown but there are many factors which govern the occurrence of ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer develops when cells in the ovaries begin to grow in an uncontrolled fashion and infect the nearby tissues. Tumor formation can take place in one or both of a woman’s ovaries. These tumors spread throughout the body and can be life threatening. Ovarian cancer is also referred to as silent killer as it is undetectable even in its advanced stages.
The majority of ovarian cancers arise from the epithelial surface cells, but can also develop from internal cell types that make hormones and support and nurture the eggs in the ovary. If the ovaries are removed during premenopausal years, it causes infertility, or inability to bear children due to the damage to the woman's eggs. There are no identifiable causes of ovarian cancer. However there are factors that increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer. These include:
- Age- Most ovarian cancers occur in women over the age of 50 years.
- Ovulation factors - A woman who has children has lower risk of ovarian cancer compared to the woman who has no children.
- Obesity or overweight condition increases the risk of ovarian cancer.
- Family history of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, or colorectal cancer increases the risk of ovarian cancer as it then becomes hereditary.
- Talcum powder applied directly to the genital area or on sanitary napkins may prove to be carcinogenic.
- Exposure to asbestos and radiations can also cause ovarian cancer.
- Taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may increase the risk of ovarian cancer slightly.
There are many theories related to the development of ovarian cancer.
- One theory suggests that there is a relationship between ovulation and the risk of developing ovarian cancer. If for any reason, number of times a woman ovulates reduces such as during pregnancy, breast feeding and taking birth control pills, so does the risk of ovarian cancer.
- Cancer causing substances may enter the body through the vagina and pass through the uterus and fallopian tubes to reach the ovaries causing ovarian cancer. Tubal ligation and hysterectomy decrease the risk of ovarian cancer.
- Cancer causing genes (oncogenes) such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes inherited from the parents can also cause ovarian cancer.
There is a good chance of permanent cure if ovarian cancer is diagnosed and treated at an early stage. But unfortunately most symptoms are visible after the cancer has grown quite large and has spread. In such cases, cure is difficult but not impossible. There are no specific reasons of ovarian cancer. The only way to detect it is through regular check up, but then, it is not detectable every time.
Read more articles on Ovarian Cancer .
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