Ovarian Cancer

What is ovarian cancer?

Women have two ovaries that are located in the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus. The ovaries make female hormones and produce eggs. They are also the main source of a woman’s female hormones, estrogen and progesterone. When cancer starts in the ovaries, it is called ovarian cancer and if is found in its early stages, treatment is most effective. The majority of ovarian cancers arise from the epithelium (outer lining) of the ovary.

What is a types of ovarian cancer?

The ovarian cancer is classified to the type of cell from which they start. Cancerous ovarian tumors can start from three common cell types:

    • Surface Epithelium

Epithelial ovarian tumors develop from the cells that cover the outer surface of the ovary. Cancerous epithelial tumors are carcinoma which it is begin in the tissue that lines the ovaries. These are the most common and most dangerous of all types of ovarian cancers. Majority of women with the common epithelial ovarian cancer are not diagnosed until the disease is advanced in stage.

    • Germ Cells

Ovarian germ cell tumors develop from the cells that produce the ova or eggs. The most common germ cell malignancies are maturing teratomas, dysgerminomas, and endodermis sinus tumors. Germ cell malignancies occur most often in teenagers and women in their twenties.

    • Stromal Cells.

Ovarian stromal tumors are a rare class of tumors that develop from connective tissue cells that hold the ovary together and those that produce the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone. The most common types are granulosa-theca tumors and Sertoli-Leydig cell tumors. These tumors are quite rare and are usually considered low-grade cancers


What is a risk factor of ovarian cancer?

Different cancer has different risk factors. Even if a person with ovarian cancer has a risk factor, it is very hard to know how much that risk factor may have contributed to the cancer. There are several risk factors for ovarian cancer:

    • Age

Ovarian cancer is rare in women younger than 40. Usually ovarian is rare in women younger than 40 but half of all ovarian cancers are found in women 63 years of age or older.

    • Obesity

The obese women which those with a body mass index of at least 30 have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.

    • Reproductive history

Breastfeeding may lower the risk even further. Women who have been pregnant and carried it to term have a lower risk of ovarian cancer than women who have not.

    • Birth control

Women who have used oral contraceptives (also known as birth control pills or the pill) have a lower risk of ovarian cancer. The lower risk is seen after only 3 to 6 months of using the pill, and the risk is lower the longer the pills are used.

    • Fertility drugs

Researchers have found that using the fertility drugs clomiphene citrate for longer than one year may increase the risk for developing ovarian tumors. Fertility drugs seem to be increase the risk of the type of ovarian tumors known as low malignant potential. Other than that, women who are infertile may be at higher risk even if they don’t use fertility drugs.

    • Androgens

The one of the symptom of ovarian cancer are danazol which a drug that increase androgen levels. Women who took androgens were found to have a higher risk of ovarian cancer. Androgen is male hormones.

    • Estrogen therapy and hormone therapy

Women using estrogen after menopause have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. This is because women taking estrogen alone without progesterone at least 5 or 10 years.

    • Family history of ovarian cancer

The more relatives you have with ovarian cancer the higher risk for this disease. Usually, ovarian cancer does not have to come from mother’s side of the family but it can also from father’s sides.

    • Talcum Powder

The talcum powder applied directly to the genital area or on sanitary napkins may be carcinogenic (cancer-causing) to the ovaries. Talcum powder was sometimes contaminated with asbestos, a known cancer-causing mineral.


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