Types, Stages, And Risk Factors Of Ovarian Cancer

Types, Stages, And Risk Factors Of Ovarian Cancer
Cancer starts when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer, and can spread to other areas of the body.  

Ovarian cancer begins in the ovaries. Ovaries are reproductive glands found only in females (women). The ovaries produce eggs (ova) for reproduction. The eggs travel through the fallopian tubes into the uterus where the fertilized egg implants and develops into a fetus. The ovaries are also the main source of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. One ovary is on each side of the uterus in the pelvis.

ovarian cancer

The ovaries are made up of 3 main kinds of cells. Each type of cell can develop into a different type of tumor:
  • Epithelial tumors start from the cells that cover the outer surface of the ovary. Most ovarian tumors are epithelial cell tumors.
  • Germ cell tumors start from the cells that produce the eggs (ova).
  • Stromal tumors start from structural tissue cells that hold the ovary together and produce the female hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Most of these tumors are benign (non-cancerous) and never spread beyond the ovary. Benign tumors can be treated by removing either the ovary or the part of the ovary that contains the tumor.

Types of Ovarian Cancer

There are more than 30 different types of ovarian cancer, which are classified by the type of cell from which they start. Cancerous ovarian tumors start from three common cell types:
  • Surface Epithelium - cells covering the outer lining of the ovaries
  • Germ Cells - cells that are destined to form eggs
  • Stromal Cells - Cells that release hormones and connect the different structures of the ovaries

Stages of Ovarian Cancer

Once diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the stage of a tumor can be determined during surgery, when the doctor can tell if the cancer has spread outside the ovaries. There are four stages of ovarian cancer - Stage I (early disease) to Stage IV (advanced disease). The treatment plan and prognosis (the probable course and outcome of the disease) will be determined by the stage of the cancer.

The following describes the various stages of ovarian cancer:


Aside from older age, the center says risk factors for ovarian cancer include:
from : http://ovarian.org

Risk Factors of Ovarian Cancer

Aside from older age, the center says risk factors for ovarian cancer include:

1. A family history of ovarian, breast or colon cancer
If your mother, sister or daughter has had ovarian cancer, you are at greater risk for developing it. The more relatives with the disease, the greater the risk.

2. Inherited gene mutation
Up to 10 percent of ovarian cancers stem from an inherited gene mutation, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations. Other genetic mutations that cause certain syndromes are also associated with ovarian and other forms of cancer.

3. Reproductive history
Having a full-term pregnancy before the age of 26 can lower risk for the disease. The more children women have, the lower their risk for ovarian cancer. Breast-feeding also lowers women's risk for this type of cancer.

4. Birth control
Using birth control pills for just three to six months may help lower risk for ovarian cancer. Taking them longer may further reduce risk for the disease. This benefit of the pill may persist for many years after women stop taking it.

5. Hormone therapy
Hormone replacement therapy after menopause may increase risk for ovarian cancer, particularly if estrogen without progesterone is taken for more than five years.

6. Other risk factors
Obesity and breast cancer may also elevate a woman's chances of developing ovarian cancer

References : 
A Health teacher and Midwife..

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