Ovarian Carcinoma

What Is Ovarian Carcinoma?

Ovarian carcinoma is a type of cancer that originates in the ovaries, the female reproductive organs that produce eggs. It is the most common type of ovarian cancer, affecting about two-thirds of women diagnosed. It tends to affect older women, with half of all cases occurring in women over the age of 60.

When it develops, ovarian carcinoma can spread to other parts of the body, such as the abdomen and the lymph nodes. It is a serious and life-threatening type of cancer that is usually detected at an advanced stage. As a result, it typically requires aggressive treatment. But if caught early, the prognosis is much better.

Symptoms of Ovarian Carcinoma

The symptoms of ovarian carcinoma can vary significantly, and many may be attributed to other medical conditions. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain or bloating
  • Pelvic pain
  • Increased abdominal size
  • Frequent urination
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Feeling full quickly after eating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to make an appointment with your doctor. Early detection is key to improving your prognosis.

Risk Factors of Ovarian Carcinoma

While the exact cause of ovarian carcinoma is unknown, there are certain factors that can increase a woman’s risk. These include:

  • Age: The risk of ovarian carcinoma increases with age, with peak incidence occurring in women in their early 60s.
  • Family history: If you have a close relative who has had ovarian cancer, you have a greater risk of developing it.
  • History of breast cancer: Women with a history of breast cancer have a higher risk of developing ovarian carcinoma.
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome: Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are at increased risk.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Ovarian Carcinoma

Once ovarian carcinoma is suspected, your doctor will order a variety of tests, including blood tests, and imaging scans to assess the size and extent of the cancer. An ultrasound or CT (computed tomography) scan is typically used to look for tumors in the abdomen.

Treatment typically involves a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. The extent of the surgery depends on the size and location of the cancer, and whether it has spread. Chemotherapy aims to kill any remaining cancer cells and is usually followed by radiation therapy if necessary.

Once treated, it is important to follow up with regular check-ups with your doctor. Although ovarian carcinoma can be a serious and life-threatening illness, with proper treatment, women can have good outcomes.