According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in United States, there are more than 20,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the world each year and 14,000 people will die from the disease. Besides, it is also the most common cancer at women.
It is difficult to recognize the symptoms of ovarian cancer, especially at the early stage because they are often similar with those of common illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome.
The most common manifestations of the disease include enlarged abdomen, persistent flatulence condition, pelvic or abdomen pain and difficult eating. Besides, there are also other symptoms including backache, frequent urination, loss of appetite, nausea, weight gain, and pain during sex. Some patients are also abnormal vaginal bleeding, but this phenomenon is rare.
There are 85% of ovarian cancer patients are women beyond 50 years old. Experts say that 5 to 10% of ovarian cancer is caused by defective genes called BRCA1 or BRCA2. Meanwhile, according to Hani Gabra, Director of Ovarian Cancer Action of London, up to 20% of women carry this gene. Angelina Jolie recently announced that she had a mastectomy after discovering that she carries the defective gene.
According to Dr Tan Niap Hong, Consultant Gynecologist at Prince Court Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, about 10 to 15 percent of ovarian cancer may be due to hereditary gene mutations.
Besides, the women who have early or late menopause are also at a higher risk of ovarian cancer. However, the risk of ovarian cancer decreases when women have given birth, take birth control pills or breastfeeding. It is also believed that losing weight, regular exercising and a healthy diet can help reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.
Patients with ovarian cancer can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy and intensive care. Doctors will depend on how big the tumor is and the patient’s health as well as their fertility to decide the treating method whether cutting the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus or removing all the lymph nodes in the abdomen.
Patients who are diagnosed when the disease is at the early stage have more chance of living than those are diagnosed late.
In fact, there are 70% of ovarian cancer patients, will live for at least one year after the discovery, in which 40% of them will live for five years and 30% will live for 10 years.