The ovaries, two almond-shaped organs that lie on each side of the uterus, give life when they are functioning normally. This is because they create a womanís eggs as well as fuel her reproductive system with estrogen and progesterone. However, when something goes awry with the ovaries, they can be the very organs that take away a life, mainly the life of woman possessing them. Such a devastating scenario is what can happen if a woman has been inflicted with ovarian cancer.
What is ovarian cancer? Cancer simply explained is when the cells of the body start to develop abnormalities in their structure. Once the cancer cell is structured it then divides like normal cells however the cancerous cell splits into more cancerous cells therefore growing the cancer making it more dangerous. Ovarian cancer is when previously healthy cells on the ovary turn into malignant tumors, abnormal cells that harm the body. Ovarian cancer can affect one or both of the ovaries, with either form being quite dangerous for a woman. In fact, ovarian cancer claims the lives of 15,000 women each year in the United States. Such a figure indicates that the majority of sufferers of ovarian cancer will die. This is because there are a total of 20,000 new cases of ovarian cancer popping up each year. 20,000 minus 15,000 means that there are only 5,000 ovarian cancer survivors annually. This high count of American deaths is nearly one tenth of the global deaths per year reaching 125,000 women who die from the 200,000 plus women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
A woman suffering from ovarian cancer will have a better chance of beating the disease if she goes to the doctor early. The only problem is that ovarian cancer tends to not produce symptoms in its beginning stages. And when it does produce them, the symptoms could be so minor that a woman may not suspect she has cancer. Many of these symptoms include: swelling in the abdomen, indigestion, gas, bowel problems, unexplained weight loss or gain, tiredness and pain during sex. Of these typical ovarian cancer signs, only one is even remotely related to a womanís reproductive health, which is painful intercourse. And even that can happen to healthy women, particularly if they arenít aroused or lubricated enough during the act.
So, does that mean if a woman displays any of these symptoms she should automatically go to the doctor? The only problem is that ovarian cancer has a high rate of misdiagnosis in its beginning stages. This is because the tumors arenít as visible as they are when the disease progresses. And even if they are, they may not necessarily be the malignant ones associated with ovarian cancerÖ in fact, they could be benign. Such things have lead to a lot of women getting unnecessary surgeries and other ovarian cancer treatments.
Yet, for some women, it is worth going through the risk of ovarian cancer misdiagnosis, especially if they are more likely to get the disease. Those at greater risk for developing ovarian cancer include: elderly women, (especially those over 70), women with a history of ovarian cancer in their family, women who get a lot of ovarian cysts, infertile women and women undergoing hormone replacement therapy. A woman is also at a higher risk of getting ovarian cancer if she has certain genetic mutations. The most common that are associated with ovarian cancer include: BRCA1 (Breast Cancer Gene 1), BRCA 2 (Breast Cancer Gene 2) and HNPCC, (which stands for hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer).
Ovarian Cancer Symptoms
The symptoms of ovarian cancer are usually pretty easy to spot. Symptoms include problems with digestion, abdominal pains and swelling, problems with gas and regularly experiences nausea. These are the signs that you will first see, as the cancer develops more symptoms will be seen.
Ovarian Cancer Survival Rates
Itís a shame but only 35 percent of women who get ovarian cancer will survive the terrible cancer. Researchers however are searching for a new drug which will increase the chance of ovarian cancer suffers surviving, initial research has been positive however it will be some time before they find a drug that cures cancer completely.