Causes of ovar­ian can­cer

Prevention (Australia) - - Special Report: Ovarian Cancer -

Though it barely reg­is­ters as a blip on the health radar of most women, world­wide, ovar­ian can­cer is the sec­ond most com­mon gy­nae­co­log­i­cal can­cer. In Aus­tralia, four women are di­ag­nosed with ovar­ian can­cer ev­ery day on av­er­age. This so-called ‘silent’ dis­ease oc­curs due to ab­nor­mal cell growth in one or both ovaries. These small al­mond-shaped or­gans on ei­ther side of your pelvis are at­tached to the fal­lop­ian tubes and pro­duce eggs and the hor­mones oe­stro­gen and pro­ges­terone, which reg­u­late your men­strual cy­cle.

“The most com­mon type of ovar­ian can­cer grows from the cells on the out­side of the ovary (and so it’s name ep­ithe­lial, re­fer­ring to the cells in the sur­face layer). The less com­mon types arise from the cells which pro­duce eggs or from tis­sues on the in­side of the ovary, ” ex­plains Pro­fes­sor Sanchia Aranda from Can­cer Coun­cil Aus­tralia.

When tu­mours grow, the symp­toms that usu­ally emerge are of­ten seen as gas­troin­testi­nal is­sues be­cause the tu­mour is press­ing on those or­gans. So for women who ex­pe­ri­ence things like bloat­ing or an urge to pee fre­quently when they are pre­men­strual or menopausal, it can be dif­fi­cult to dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween such dis­com­fort and what may be early warn­ing signs. Even doc­tors may be slow to recog­nise the signs be­cause they are so non­de­script. Ac­cord­ing to re­search by Ovar­ian Can­cer Aus­tralia, 49 per cent of women with ovar­ian can­cer see their GP to dis­cuss symp­toms at least twice be­fore be­ing re­ferred for fur­ther tests, while 21 per cent see their doc­tor for

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