Ovarian cancer is the ninth most commonly occurring cancer amongst women. Ovarian cancer typically occurs due to the presence of cancerous tumours on the outer ovaries or in the epithelial cells of the ovaries. It is often diagnosed late when the cancer has already metastasized to other organs.
Early treatment of ovarian cancer offers a good prognosis. If the woman is lucky, the cancer is detected early with the help of pelvic exams and regular ultrasounds.
The first symptoms of ovarian cancer include bloating, feeling of fullness, abdominal pain and difficulty in urination. There are some common risk factors associated with the development of ovarian cancer. Here are some of them.
Risk Factors For Ovarian Cancer
A family history of ovarian cancer can predispose a woman to developing ovarian cancer. If one or two close relatives of the woman have ovarian cancer, then there is a high possibility of the woman having it too. Certain genes like the BRCA1 and BRCA2 are responsible for the development of ovarian cancer.
History Of Other Cancers
A history of colorectal cancer or breast cancer also increases the risk of ovarian and uterine cancers.
Age is another criterion for development of ovarian cancer. Generally, it is seen that women over the age of 50 are most likely to develop ovarian cancer. The incidence for ovarian cancer is almost 50% for women above the age of 60. Fewer women in their 30’s and 40’s get the disease.
Childbearing and menstruation have a close link to the onset and development of ovarian cancer. If the woman has not had children, she has a higher chance of developing ovarian cancer. The number of menstrual periods that a woman has is also associated with its onset.
For example, girls who start menstruating at 12 and have their first child after the age of 30 have a higher chance of developing the disease than someone who has had two children before the age of 30.Women who experience late menopause after the age of 50 also have a higher chance of developing the disease.
Women undergoing HRT or hormone replacement therapy after menopause have a slightly higher chance of developing the disease. This is again due to the presence of estrogen in the body. Similarly, women who are taking oral contraceptives have a lower chance of developing ovarian cancer.
Excessive weight gain and obesity is related to the development of several cancers particularly ovarian cancer.
The Use Of Perfumed Powders
The use of cosmetic creams and talcum powders at the genital area are also some of the other reasons for development of ovarian cancer. The research and studies done in this area are not very conclusive however.
Having a risk factor does not guarantee a development of the disease as many women develop ovarian cancer with no known risk factor. However, it is wise and prudent for women with known risk factors to undergo regular screening to prevent the onset of the cancer. Early screening and detection of ovarian cancer can go a long way in offering a good prognosis.