Thursday, December 10, 2015

Ovarian cancer

What is ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer is the cancer of the ovary, one of the major organ of the female reproductive system. Such a type of cancer often goes undetected, until the cancer has spread to the pelvis and the abdomen.

What causes ovarian cancer?

The exact cause of ovarian cancer is still unknown. The various risk factors that increase the chances of women to develop the cancer include:
  •  Age: Women in the menopausal age are at an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  • Inherited genetic mutation: The genes which are known to play foul in the causation of ovarian cancer include breast cancer gene 1 and 2.
  • Age of menstruation and menopause: It is being said that women who started menstruating before the age of 12 and had menopause after the age of 52 stand a strong chance of developing ovarian cancer.
  • Estrogen hormone replacement therapy when taken for long duration and in high doses increases the chances of ovarian cancer.

Other risk factors include fertility treatment, non-pregnancy, smoking, polycystic ovarian syndrome and the use of an intrauterine device.

What are the different types of ovarian cancer?

There are three types of Ovarian cancer. These include:
1.    Epithelial tumor: This is one of the most common types of ovarian cancer. In this type, the tumors begin in the thin layer of the tissue outside the ovary.
2.    Stromal tumor: Stromal tumor can be detected at an early stage as compared to the other types. Tumors of this type take shape in the hormone producing cells of the ovary.
3.    Germ cell tumors: This is the rarest form of ovarian cancer, which usually strikes the younger women. Tumors of this type develop in the egg producing cells of the ovaries.
How does ovarian cancer spread?

Ovarian cancer is not contagious in nature and does not spread from one person to another.

What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer?

In the initial stages, ovarian cancer seldom produces any symptoms. During the later stages, the various symptoms include the following:
  • Swelling in the abdomen or bloating
  • Increase in the urge to urinate frequently
  • Sudden change in the bowel movements
  • Constipation
  • Feeling of discomfort in the pelvic region
  • Undue weight loss
  • Feeling of fullness after eating a small amount of food

What are the different stages of ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer progresses through 4 stages, which have been described below:
  • Stage 1: In this stage, the cancer cells are still confined to the ovaries and have not moved out of the organ.
  • Stage 2: This stage is marked by the spread of cancer to the neighboring areas, such as the pelvic region.
  • Stage 3: In this stage, the cancer cells have spread outside the pelvic region and the abdominal cavity.
  • Stage 4: In the stage 4, the cancer has spread to the distant organs such as the lungs and liver.

What is the treatment of ovarian cancer?

Treatment of ovarian cancer involves surgery and chemotherapy. Surgery is done to remove both the ovaries, uterus and Fallopian tubes as well. If the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, then they are also surgically removed. Chemotherapy usually follows surgery and is done to kill any remaining cancer cells.

How can ovarian cancer be prevented?

Preventing ovarian cancer has not been possible always. However, minimizing the risk factors can in some way also help in preventing the development of ovarian cancer. The following steps can be taken to prevent ovarian cancer:
  • Using oral contraceptives helps in reducing the risk of ovarian cancer
  • Undergoing tubal ligation and hysterectomy also is associated with reduced risk of ovarian cancer
  • Breast feeding babies
  • Losing excess weight and maintaining an active lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle changes in ovarian cancer?

Individuals diagnosed with ovarian cancer are advised to follow a healthy dietary pattern. Maintaining ideal weight and opting for healthier food products can go a long way in managing the side effects of treatment. Moreover, it is normal for patients to experience tiredness and fatigue after receiving treatment for ovarian cancer. Therefore, they are also advised to take ample rest and also exercise in between to improve the strength and bring down the fatigue levels.

What is Ayurvedic treatment of ovarian cancer?

The various Ayurvedic herbs that have been proved to be beneficial in the treatment of ovarian cancer include shatavari, ashwagandha, guduchu, guggul, ashoka and lodhra.

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