Friday, March 28, 2008
The Deadliest Cancer
Ovarian cancer is one of the deadliest cancer because it often goes undetected for years. Compared to other female reproductive organ disease, ovarian cancer claims more women lives for more than 16,000 annually. The reason why it is so deadly is that most of the victims of this disease present signs at stage three or four (terminal stage of the disease). Ovarian cancer often has no symptoms until it is advanced making it difficult to diagnose and treat effectively. Symptoms can include abdominal pain or bloating, increasing abdominal girth, loss of appetite, vaginal bleeding, constipation, frequent urination or shortness of breath, Pain or swelling in the abdomen, pain in the pelvis, and gastrointestinal problems, such as gas, bloating, or constipation.
Signs and Symptoms
Possible signs of ovarian cancer include pain or swelling in the abdomen. Early ovarian cancer may not cause any symptoms. When symptoms do appear, ovarian cancer is often advanced. If the symptoms get worse or do not go away on their own, a doctor should be consulted so that any problem can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible. When found in its early stages, ovarian epithelial cancer can often be cured. Women with any stage of ovarian cancer should think about taking part in a clinical trial. Once it is diagnosed aggressive treatment is necessary.
Treatment should include removal of the tumors or affected tissue, surgery, intravenous chemotherapy, cancer drugs, anti-cancer medicines, and other therapies. But still the best treatment is to increase the awareness of the disease to fight against it. Screening programs should be conducted to target presence of ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer can sometimes be associated with known risk factors for the disease. Many risk factors are modifiable though not all can be avoided. Avoiding risk factors when possible and increasing protective factors may help prevent ovarian cancer. Genetic Factors: Women who have inherited certain altered genes have a much higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. These mutations may be found in BRCA1 , BRCA2 , or hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC) genes. Age: The risk of developing ovarian cancer increases as a woman gets older. Obesity: Having excess body fat as measured by body mass index, including during the teen years, increases the risk of ovarian cancer. Diet and nutrition during the teen years may play a role in prevention. Oral Contraceptives: Studies show that the use of oral contraceptives reduces the risk of developing ovarian cancer. The longer you use oral contraceptives, the lower your risk might be. The decrease in risk may last up to 25 years after the use of oral contraceptives has ended. This lower risk is seen both in women who have given birth and in women who have not. Oral contraceptives may also protect against ovarian cancer in women who are at higher risk because they have inherited an altered version of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Harms from taking oral contraceptives include a higher risk of blood clots that can block blood vessels, especially in smokers and a slightly higher short-term risk of breast cancer that decreases over time when use is stopped.
Brief Essay of Important Theme
Ovarian epithelial cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissue covering the ovary. The ovaries are a pair of organs in the female reproductive system. They are located in the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus (the hollow, pear-shaped organ where a fetus grows). Each ovary is about the size and shape of an almond. The ovaries produce eggs and female hormones (chemicals that control the way certain cells or organs function). Ovarian epithelial cancer is one type of cancer that affects the ovary.
Women who have a family history of ovarian cancer are at an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Women who have one first-degree relative (mother, daughter, or sister) with ovarian cancer are at an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. This risk is higher in women who have one first-degree relative and one second-degree relative (grandmother or aunt) with ovarian cancer. This risk is even higher in women who have two or more first-degree relatives with ovarian cancer.
Medical-Surgical Nursing Vol.2, by Lipincott, 3rd edition, pp. 1324.