Ovarian cancer is another form of gynecological cancer that kills about 1, 40,000 women across the globe every year. About 21,000 women in US are diagnosed of this dreadful disease annually, and the mortality rate is quite high.
Survival rate from ovarian cancer is very low of about 46% in the developed countries, and it is much lower in the underdeveloped countries. The five year survival rate from ovarian cancer is quite high of about 93% provided it is diagnosed at an early stage.
Unfortunately, this form of cancer does not show any significant signs at the early stages and this is the prime reason for the high mortality rate. Most cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed at the advanced stages when the cancerous tumor has invaded the surrounding tissues and organs.
Causes Of Ovarian Cancer
There is no definite cause of ovarian cancer, but extensive researches and statistics have led scientists to sort out a number of risk factors and probable causes of ovarian cancer. Knowledge of these risk factors is undoubtedly quite helpful in preventing this dreadful disease.
But the situation still remains dicey as exposure to these risk factors does not always lead to ovarian cancer, while some may be affected even if they are not exposed to the specified risk factors.
Researches reveal that defective BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes inherited by some women can cause ovarian cancer. The risk increases in women having a family history of breast and ovarian cancer. Similarly, the risk is also higher in women whose close relatives have a history of prostate cancer, colon cancer or uterine cancer.
Women having SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) version of chromosome 9 are at a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer in their life than the women without it. The risk again doubles in women carrying both copies of SNP version of chromosome 9.
Aging can be a cause of ovarian cancer as most cases of this disease are observed in elderly women above 55-60 years of age.
Total Number Of Ovulations In Lifetime
Ovarian cancer is often linked with the total number of ovulations in the lifespan of a woman. This again depends on the following factors.
Women who have never been pregnant in their lifetime have higher chances of developing ovarian cancer. The chances reduce significantly in women who have been pregnant a number of times. Women who have never taken birth control pills have higher chances of ovarian cancer.
Birth control pills reduce the number of ovulations, thereby reducing the chances of this disease. Early menarche and late menopause can cause ovarian cancer in some women.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Hormone Replacement Therapy increases the risk of ovarian cancer in elderly females by few degrees. However, the risk reduces when a woman stops this treatment. Danish scientists are of the view that women currently on HRT or those who have undergone this treatment in the past have higher chances of ovarian cancer.
According to some reports, prolonged use of fertility drugs may increase the chances of ovarian cancer especially if the treatment does not result in pregnancy. The confusion exists whether the cancer is due to the infertility itself or due to drugs. It is better to discuss the possible risk factors of fertility drugs with the doctor before adopting fertility treatment.
Obesity can cause many forms of cancer including ovarian cancer. Reports from the National Cancer Institute reveal that the risk of ovarian cancer doubles in obese women undergoing hormone replacement therapy compared to their peers having normal body weight.
High fat diet can invite different forms of cancer. Women following a high fat diet have a high risk of developing ovarian cancer. The risk increases in obese women sticking to high fat diet. The risk lowers significantly in women following low-fat or vegetarian diet for more than four years. There may be conflicting reports regarding the role of diet, but it is a well accepted fact that a low fat diet can prevent different forms of cancer.