Ovarian Cancer is one of the most prevalent types of Cancer affecting several women around the world. It starts in the ovaries, which are the reproductive glands found only in females. One ovary is found on each side of the uterus. The ovaries produce eggs or ova that are helpful for reproduction. These eggs pass through the fallopian tubes into the uterus where the fertilized egg gets implanted and grows to become a foetus. The ovaries are also the primary source of the female hormones known as estrogens and progesterone.
The ovaries are made up of three kinds of cells and each kind of cell can develop into a different sort of tumor:
Largely, these tumors are benign or non-cancerous and never spread or invade into the other areas apart from the ovary. These tumors can be cured by the removal of either the ovary or the specific part of the ovary that is affected by the tumor. Cancerous or low malignant ovarian tumors can spread to other areas of the body leading to fatal outcomes.
There are many causes behind the occurrence and development of this disease like age, family history, history of pregnancy, birth control pills, infertility or treatment of infertility, Breast Cancer, Hormone Therapy, obesity or being overweight, etc.
However, the development of this Cancer can be kept at bay, it you are aware of these signs and symptoms:
1. Uneasy or painful intercourse: This is also known as Dyspareunia, is an early sign of Ovarian Cancer. If there is a tumour in or around the Ovarian area, then the intercourse process can be very painful; leading to vaginal bleeding as well. This also, may be a sign of Cervical Cancer or Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
2. Abdominal or Pelvic Pain: The development of a tumor in an ovary can lead to serious pelvic or abdominal pain because the tumor can exert pressure on and around the nearby areas. So, if aged 50 or older, and are going through a lot of pain in the abdominal area the surely it needs medical attention. Specifically, younger women should consult a doctor if experiencing pelvic pain on times other than monthly menstrual cycle.
3. Abdominal bloating: If you are witnessing symptoms like bloating, gas, heartburn, indigestion, or nausea, or if you are feeling that your clothes are feeling tighter specifically in the waist and hips areas, then you need to be aware that these are symptoms that something may be wrong in your ovaries.
4. Frequent need to urinate: Urinary changes happen due to the constant pressure from the tumour or from the fluid in the abdomen that develops due to the tumour. You may face a frequent urge to urinate, bladder incontinence or blood in the urine.
5. Difficulty in eating: You may face difficulty in eating or loss of appetite, may feel full sooner than usual. This brings along weight loss leading to fatigue. Also, the growth and spread of tumour can majorly affect the digestion system.
6. Vaginal Abnormalities: There might be post-menopausal vaginal bleeding or spotting because of the spreading of Cancer to the surrounding tissues due to which there is formation of abnormal capillaries that break easily casing bleeding. Apart from bleeding, there can be occurrence of sores and blisters in the vaginal area, changes in the colour of vaginal skin, or foul smelling vaginal discharge.
7. Lower Back Pain: As the tumour keeps growing, it initiates pain in different areas of the body that includes the lower back.
8. Difficulty in Breathing: This is a very common symptom in women with Ovarian Cancer and grows as the Cancer keeps spreading.
9. Changes in the Bowel Habits: If you face any discomfort or changes in the bowel habits like Constipation or Diarrhoea then be careful as these changes may happen due to the swelling of the tumour and the pressure that is created on the stomach, bladder or bowel.
10. Fatigue: Any kind of Cancer leads to the reduction of the red blood cells, which lead to Anaemia, and fatigue, due to the lowered supply of oxygen all over the body. Similarly, if you are feeling tired all the time, then it is better to consult the doctor.
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