Ovarian cancer is a significant health concern affecting women worldwide. This insidious disease, often called the “silent killer,” can manifest with minimal symptoms until it reaches advanced stages.
As medical research continues to make strides in understanding the complexities of ovarian cancer, it becomes increasingly important for individuals to be well-informed about its causes, recognize its symptoms, and explore advanced treatment options.
This article aims to shed light on the intricacies of ovarian cancer, empowering readers with valuable knowledge that can aid in early detection, informed decision-making, and improved patient outcomes.
Table of Contents
What Is Ovarian Cancer?
Ovarian cancer is a disease that develops when cells in the ovaries begin to grow abnormally and form a tumor. The most common types of ovarian cancer are epithelial, germ cell, and sex cord-stromal tumors.
Epithelial ovarian cancer accounts for 95 percent of all ovarian cancers and has an excellent prognosis if found early. Germ cell tumors are rare but tend to be malignant cancers. Only 5% tend to be malignant germ cell tumors.
Causes of Ovarian Cancer
Several factors have been identified as risk factors.
- Heredity: Ovarian cancer can be caused due to genetics. Having a family history of ovarian cancer can put you at a greater risk of developing the disease.
- Age: Ovarian tumors are more common after age 55 and occur less frequently before menopause begins. About one-fourth of all cases occur in women younger than 40 years old. Still, these tumors rarely spread beyond their ovaries when diagnosed early. They often respond well to treatment options like surgery or radiation therapy without chemotherapy drugs being needed, especially if caught early enough.
Besides the medical and health factors, there are other causes of ovarian cancer. Talc powder contaminated with asbestos is also linked with the condition. In fact, many plaintiffs have also sued manufacturers for failing to inform them about this. According to TorHoerman Law, talc powder is also associated with mesothelioma, endometrial cancer, pneumonia, lung cancer, and talcosis, alongside ovarian cancer.
The talcum powder lawsuit is ongoing. Many attorneys hire new clients daily. You can also file a lawsuit to get a settlement amount compensation if you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after talc powder use. The settlement can vary from case to case. However, the average settlement for a talcum powder lawsuit can be between $100,000 and $1 million.
Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
Listed below are some of the symptoms of ovarian cancer:
- Pain in the abdomen and pelvis is a common symptom of ovarian cancer. The pain may be constant or come and go, and it can be mild to severe.
- Discomfort in the pelvis is another symptom of ovarian cancer. This discomfort may feel like pressure, fullness, or bloating lasting more than a few days at a time. You might also have trouble eating because you feel too full after only a few bites. This feeling often worsens if you eat quickly or drink liquids with meals.
- Other symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pelvic pain during intercourse
- Bloating around your middle section
Diagnosis, Screening, and Treatment Options
Early diagnosis can help treat ovarian cancer quickly and more efficiently. Screening for ovarian cancer is not a specific test but rather a process of checking whether you have any symptoms or risk factors for the disease. Your doctor will likely recommend you get screened if they think your risk of developing ovarian cancer is higher than average.
Here are some of the many treatment options available for ovarian cancer:
- In many cases, surgery is the best option for treating ovarian cancer. During surgery, your doctor removes the tumor and some of your ovaries. Laparoscopic ovary removal usually lasts from an hour to 90 minutes. However, under certain conditions, abdominal ovary removal may be necessary. Further exploration in such cases can take 1-2 hours or more.
- Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells in the body. It’s often used after surgery if there are still signs of disease left behind or if you have relapsed after chemotherapy or hormone therapy treatment. It has an efficacy rate of 65-71%.
- Hormone therapy involves taking medications that block estrogen production by blocking chemicals needed for its production.
- Chemo drugs act on cells throughout your body. They target all rapidly dividing cells, including those that cause cancerous tumors, and stop them from dividing quickly so they can’t grow as large or spread throughout your body.
- Targeted therapies are medicines designed specifically for certain types of cancers based on their genetic makeup. This means less chance that these therapies will harm healthy tissue around them while still attacking only those specific areas where they should be working.
- Palliative care provides supportive care when curative treatments aren’t possible anymore. This could mean anything from managing pain levels through medication until death occurs.
Support and Resources
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, knowing that many resources are available to help is essential.
- Support groups: These are often offered at hospitals and treatment centers and by organizations like the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF). You can also find them online through Facebook groups or websites like OCRF’s Look Good Feel Better program, which offers free beauty workshops for women undergoing chemotherapy who want tips on feeling good about themselves during treatment.
- Online communities: Support networks exist on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. They may be organized around specific types of cancer, like breast cancer survivors, or be more general. There are also private messaging apps where people share their experiences privately rather than publicly posting them online, where everyone can see them.
Ovarian cancer can be a fatal health condition, and several factors can increase your risk of developing it. Understanding these factors and every other information you can get about this medical condition is vital to ensure timely treatment. When you understand the underlying cause of ovarian cancer and its symptoms, you can seek professional help quickly and make better decisions regarding treatment.