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How to Detect Ovarian Cancer: Everything You Need to Know

How to Detect Ovarian Cancer: Everything You Need to Know

Ovarian cancer claims more lives than any other cancer affecting the female reproductive system. According to WHO data published in 2018, there were 1,836 deaths due to ovarian cancer in the Philippines.

How to detect ovarian cancer is challenging, especially in the early stages. The ovaries are deep within the abdominal cavity, making it difficult to see and check for any physical changes and signs of cancer.

How to Detect Ovarian Cancer: Signs and Symptoms

Many of the symptoms of ovarian cancer can be found in just about any healthy woman. However, if you find yourself experiencing these symptoms more than 12 times a month, consult with your doctor and ask about how to detect ovarian cancer. If the cancer is found immediately, treatment will also be more effective.

  • Urinary symptoms – If you constantly having the sudden urge to urinate or feel like there is pressure or pain in your bladder, this could be a sign of ovarian cancer.
  • Bloating – Bloating is the uncomfortable feeling of fullness or feeling “stuffed” in the stomach. If bloating is accompanied by a visible swelling of your stomach (abdominal distension), you may want to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain – Experiencing pain in the pelvic region and the abdomen, as well as persistent back pain that lasts for weeks, can be a sign of ovarian cancer.
  • Difficulty eating – This includes feeling full quickly, having a hard time finishing meals of small proportions, and noticing a lack of appetite even if you’ve eaten only a little.
  • Vaginal bleeding – When you are experiencing any type of abnormal vaginal bleeding especially if you have already gone through menopause, this could be a sign of ovarian cancer.

Other Symptoms Include

  • Unexplained menstrual changes
  • Indigestion or upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Unexplained exhaustion
  • Constipation
  • Painful sex
  • Weight loss

How to detect ovarian cancer can be tricky especially if the signs and symptoms can easily be mistaken for a wide array of diseases. If you experience many of these symptoms constantly, don’t hesitate to have yourself checked.

How to Detect Ovarian Cancer: Risk Factors

Some factors that put you at risk of ovarian cancer include:

  • Old age. Most cases of ovarian cancer occur in women between the ages of 50 and 60, but it can occur at any age.
  • Gene mutations. Some inherited genes, specifically BRCA1 (BReast Cancer gene one) and BRCA2 (BReast Cancer gene two) are responsible for a small percentage of ovarian cancers.
  • The age at which menstruation began and ended. if you menstruated early, entered menopause late, or a combination of both,you may be at higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  • Estrogen hormone replacement therapy. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is used to alleviate hot flushes, sleep problems, and other symptoms associated with menapause. When used for a long time and in large doses, it may increase the risk of cancer.
  • Family history of ovarian cancer. The odds of developing ovarian cancer are higher for people with two or more close relatives who have ovarian cancer.

If you have several of these risk factors, make sure to ask your doctor how to detect ovarian cancer and what tests and procedures to undergo.

Causes

The cause of most ovarian cancers is still unclear. Ovarian cancer is thought to begin in cells at the ends of the fallopian tubes and not necessarily inside the ovary itself.

Doctors believe that ovarian cancer and ovulation may be connected.

Another theory also suggests that certain cancer-causing substances could enter the body through the vaginal area and travel through the uterus and fallopian tubes before reaching the ovaries.

Experts are still doing more research in the hopes that the ways on how to detect ovarian cancer will become easier and efficient

Treatment

Surgery and chemotherapy are both options for treating ovarian cancer. Cancer cells are evaluated by performing a biopsy on the affected ovary, fallopian tubes, and uterus.

  • Surgery. Surgery is known to be the primary treatment. Women can choose to remove only the affected area of the entire ovary and fallopian tubes.
  • Hormone therapy. Hormone therapy prevents tumors from spreading and growing by blocking hormones.
  • Chemotherapy. This treatment destroys cancerous cells by entering your bloodstream.
  • Radiation therapy. Radiation is used when cancer has spread beyond the ovaries.
  • Targeted therapy. This is a technique that kills cancer cells while minimizing harmful effects on healthy cells.

Any form of treatment for ovarian cancer has its risks. Results greatly vary depending on the severity of the disease. Knowing how to detect ovarian cancer during its early stages is crucial to the success and effectiveness of ovarian cancer treatment.

Prevention

Almost all women are at risk of ovarian cancer, but certain factors can decrease the likelihood of developing it. Here are some ways:

  • Oral contraceptive use
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes
  • Hysterectomy / Tubal ligation

Having regular check-ups and knowing how to detect ovarian cancer is also key to preventing any complications.

Key Takeaway

Ovarian cancer is a common disease with a high mortality rate. It is not entirely preventable but the risk of developing it can be reduced. Knowing how to detect ovarian cancer as early as possible is key to successful treatment.

Learn more about Ovarian Cancer here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Written by Hazel Caingcoy Updated Jun 26
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel
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