Structural Biochemistry/Ovarian Cancer

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What is Ovarian Cancer?[edit]

Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer which abnormal cells begin to grow in one or both of a woman's ovaries. An ovary is a small gland, located on both sides of the uterus; it is known for producing and storing eggs.

Causes of Ovarian Cancer[edit]

There is no known cause of ovarian cancer, however researchers know that DNA chances can play a factor into cancer causing cells.

Signs & Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer[edit]

In several cases, ovarian cancer is not diagnosed until it is in its later stages. However, the most common symptoms of ovarian cancer are:

  • Frequent bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
  • Bloating or swollen belly area

If these symptoms persist daily for more than 2 to 3 weeks, it is best to consult a doctor.

There are other symptoms that occur with ovarian cancer, but are not necessarily a sign of cancer. They consist of:

  • Fatigue
  • Indigestion
  • Back pain
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Constipation
  • Menstrual cycle changes

Diagnosing Ovarian Cancer[edit]

Unfortunately, ovarian cancer is often not detected in it's earlier stages. However, some tests are done if a patient is showing signs of ovarian cancer.

Some exams that are used to diagnose ovarian cancer include:

  • Biopsy
  • Physical exams, including a pelvic exam and a Pap test
  • Cancer antigen 125 (CA-125) test to measure amount of protein found on cancer cell surfaces
  • Pelvic and transvaginal ultrasounds
  • Pelvic or abdominal CT scan or MRI

Treating Ovarian Cancer[edit]

At the moment, surgery is used to treat all stages of ovarian cancer. Surgery can involve either:

  • Removal of the uterus (hysterectomy)
  • Removal of both ovaries and fallopian tubes
  • Parital or complete removal of the omentum (the fatty later that covers and cushions the organs in the abdomen)
  • Examination, biopsy, or removal of the lymph node and other tissues in the pelvis and abdomen

Surgery in ovarian cancer has been known to show a high succes rate.

Chemotherapy is also an option to treat any remaining cancerous cells after surgery.


References[edit]

  1. http://www.webmd.com/ovarian-cancer/default.htm
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001891/