Some facts everyone should know about Ovarian Cancer
- Age is the greatest risk factor for developing cancer.
- More than 50% of all cancer occurs after menopause.
- Women after menopause need to be targeted for prevention, early detection, and treatment of cancer.
- Ovarian cancer account for more deaths than any other gynecological cancer.
- Sadly there are no effective screening tests for ovarian cancer and few notable early symptoms.
- As a result, two-thirds of patients have advanced disease when they are diagnosed.
Risk factors to develop ovarian cancer
More than 90% of hereditary ovarian cancer result from mutations in the BRCA1(or) BRCA2 genes.
Non-hereditary risk factors for ovarian cancer include:
- No pregnancies
Genetic risk factors:
- The commonest is HEREDITARY BREAST and OVARIAN CANCER.
- The children of the affected parent have a 50% chance of inheriting the abnormality.
- This amount of 75%-90% of all inherited ovarian cancers.
Some interesting facts about BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes:
- Women who carry disease-specific alleles for BRCA1 and BRCA2 are at significantly higher risk.
- BRCA1 genes are associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer.
- BRCA2 genes are associated with a higher risk for the breast.
Familiar characteristics for genetic screening:
- Several cases of breast cancer diagnosed before the age of 50 in the same family.
- One (or) more relatives diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
- One (or) more relatives with both breast and ovarian.
- The presence of BRCA1 (or) BRCA2 germline mutation.
- Non-hereditary factors that can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.
- Oral contraceptive pills.
- For 1-4 years of oral contraceptive use, the RR is 22% and for 15 (or) more use of the RR is 56%.
Tubal ligation is associated with a decreased risk of ovarian cancer.
Breastfeeding is associated with a decreased risk of ovarian cancer.
There is no effective screening for the general public.
In a patient with greater than 20-25% chances of having a hereditary predisposition to the breast and ovarian cancer and for whom genetic screening is recommended.
The women for genetic screening are:
- Women with personal history of both breast and ovarian cancer.
- Women with ovarian cancer and a close relative with breast cancer at less than (or) equal to 50 years (or) ovarian cancer at any age.
- Women with ovarian cancer at any age who are Jewish ancestry.
- Women with ovarian cancer at less than (or) equal to 50years and a close relative with ovarian (or) male breast cancer at any age.
Close relative is defined as a
- First-degree relative,
- Second-degree relative,
- Third-degree relative,
- Grand Mother,
- Grand Daughter,
- Great Grand Mother,
- Great aunty,
- First Cousin.
Be vigilant for symptoms and signs.
Awareness of symptoms:
It whispers, so listen
- Sensation of bloating
- Persistent abdominal distention
- Feeling full (early satiety)
- Loss of appetite
- Pelvic (or) abdominal pain
- Increased urinary urgency and can frequency
- Unexplained weight loss
- Changes in bowel habit
If these symptoms are occurring persistently:
- Do investigate
- Consult your gynecologist
- Don’t neglect
Early detection is for a better outcome and increased cure expectancy.