Ovarian cancer kills at least 15,000 women every year in America. The numbers are alarmingly more when you take the worldwide statistics. Many women die due to ovarian cancer because they are not very aware of the symptoms that are very mild and easily missed in the initial stages. Most women who are in the high risk category too are not aware of their susceptibility and go on to increase their risk thousand fold with faulty diet and lifestyle.
Now, the big question is how can ovarian cancer develop in a woman? What are the contributory factors? Who are at risk? Many factors go into the development of cancer. Let’s see who and what are the risk factors associated with ovarian cancer.
Risk Factors Associated With Ovarian Cancer
Many women are genetically disposed to the condition due to inherited, mutated genes which they are not aware of. The genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 which are very commonly found in patients with breast cancer are an inherited gene that can also cause ovarian cancer. This is why there is a sure cut connection between ovarian and breast cancer. Under normal circumstances, these genes are tumour suppressors which help in preventing cancerous growths.
It is only when one of the mutated genes is inherited from both parents that it cannot act as tumour suppressors and have the chances of developing into ovarian or breast cancer.
Ovarian Follicle Damage
A slight tear in the ovarian follicle is related to the development of ovarian cancer later on. This is connected to tissue repair after the ovulation process. The new cells that develop in this area of rupture can lead to a genetic error that can lead to ovarian cancer. There is also a suggestion from researchers that ovarian cancer can be triggered by the increase hormone levels in the body before and after the ovulation process which will result in growth of abnormal cells in the ovaries.
Most cases of ovarian cancer are related to women past their reproductive age. Many of these women go for hormone replacement therapy to bust the discomfort of menopause. Estrogens replacement therapy and HRT are known to be major causes of ovarian cancer in elderly women.
It has also been suggested that the male hormone androgen is a possible cause that some women develop ovarian cancer. In younger women who suffer from endometriosis, the treatment involves the use of a drug called danazol. This drug is related to the development of ovarian cancer in some cases. Ovarian cancer risk also increases with age with women over 55 more susceptible than younger women.
Lifestyle And Diet
Diet and lifestyle are other factors that can cause ovarian cancer. Lack of exercise and obesity can cause ovarian cancer. Women who are in a diet that is less in vegetables and fruits too might be at risk of ovarian cancer. Lifestyle factors like having kids after 30 years, infertility treatment, childlessness and family history are other factors that can lead to ovarian cancer at a later stage in your life.