Ovarian cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among women. It is considered to be one of the most common types of cancer of the female reproductive system. According to McGuire and Markman (2003), “despite advances in treatment over the last 40 years, ovarian cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed gynaecological malignancy, and causes more deaths than any other cancer of the reproductive system” (p. 4). Despite the fact that ovarian cancer occurs less frequently than uterine cancer, it is more aggressive and can occur at any age. In addition, it does not manifest itself in the first stages, and in most cases are diagnosed only in the later ones. All the malignant ovarian tumors are subdivided into epithelial, germ or stromal cell types (cancer). These cancers have the highest incidence among all other tumors. (Jordan, S., Green, A., & Webb, P. 2006 p.109-116). Signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer
“Ovarian cancer has often been called the “silent killer” because symptoms are not thought to develop until advanced stages when chance of cure is poor” (Goff, Mandel, Melancon, & Muntz, 2004, p. 2705). That is why the symptoms of ovarian cancer are not specific and can be disguised as other more common diseases, such as diseases of the digestive system or urinary system. The reason for the lack of clearly defined symptoms is that ovarian cancer develops in the abdominal cavity and does not cause discomfort for the patient. The main sign of the presence of most disease is a constant presence of symptoms or their worsening. For example, ovarian cancer symptoms are distinguished by their immutability of the manifestations: they progress gradually. (Goff, B. A., Mandel, L. S., Melancon, C. H., Muntz, H. G., 2004 p. 2705-2712). The main symptoms of ovarian cancer may include the following: 1. Feeling of overeating, swelling or bloating;
2. Urgent need to urinate;
3. Pain or discomfort in the pelvic area.
4. Constant indigestion or nausea;
5. Sudden, unexplained changes of stools, which include diarrhea or constipation; 6. Frequent urination;
7. Appetite loss;
8. Rapid weight loss or rapid weight gain;
9. Increased waist circumference, which can be seen by the fact that the clothing suddenly became small; 10. Pain during intercourse;
11. Permanent weakness;
12. Pain in the lumbar area, abdominal pain. The growing tumor extends through the fallopian tubes, causing the lower abdominal pain on the affected side. The large tumors can compress the large intestine that is manifested in bloating or constipation. (Goff, B. A., Mandel, L. S., Melancon, C. H., Muntz, H. G., 2004, p. 2705-2712). In addition, ovarian cancer is characterized by metastases at the “gate” of the liver that leads to the development of ascites – an accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity due to the compression of the hepatic portal vein. (Goff, B. A., Mandel, L. S., Melancon, C. H., Muntz, H. G., 2004, p. 2705-2712). The later stages (3 and 4) of ovarian cancer are characterized by more severe symptoms, such as intoxication and anemia. The doctors usually can diagnose ovarian cancer for three months after the first symptoms. However, sometimes it is necessary to wait for six months or even more in order to put the final diagnosis. (Goff, B. A., Mandel, L. S., Melancon, C. H., Muntz, H. G., 2004, p. 2705-2712). Causes of ovarian cancer
Currently, the etiological factors of malignant ovarian tumors are not significantly determined. However, some researches have advanced several hypotheses about the etiology of epithelial ovarian tumors (Modugno et al., 2003, p. 439- 446). The first one being that ovarian cancer usually occurs when a tumor develops in one or both of a woman’s ovaries. (Modugno et al., 2003, p. 439- 446). Another hypothesis is...
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