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Ovarian Cancer Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

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The ovaries, which exist on each side of the uterus, are responsible for storing eggs, maturation of follicles and formation of the corpus luteum, and secreting sex hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. If there is a problem with these ovarian functions, related diseases such as ovarian cyst and polycystic ovary syndrome occur. Ovarian cancer refers to cancer that forms in the ovaries, which produce follicles and produce female hormones. Depending on the tissue in which the cancer occurs, it is largely divided into epithelial cell carcinoma, germ cell tumor, and sacral stromal tumor. there is said to be.

The cause of ovarian cancer is still unknown. However, there are several major factors that cause ovarian cancer. It is said that when the ovulation cycle, in which mature eggs are released from the ovaries, is greater than the average cycle, it has a significant effect on the development of ovarian cancer. .

In addition, family history and genetic factors, a medical history of breast cancer, endometrial cancer, colorectal cancer, obesity, viral infection, long exposure to asbestos, talc, and radioactive isotopes are also known to be closely related to the development of ovarian cancer. There is a bar. Ovarian cancer is known to occur mainly after menopause, but recently, it is reported that the number of ovarian cancer patients in a relatively young age group is steadily increasing. Now, let’s learn more about the main symptoms of ovarian cancer, as well as various information about treatment and prevention.

The main symptoms of ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer is divided into stages 1 to 4 depending on the degree of progression. In some cases, symptoms such as pelvic pain, abdominal pain, and urgency appear even in the early stages of the onset, but in most cases, there are no specific early symptoms. And when it reaches stage 3, which has metastasized to the abdominal cavity or lymph nodes, symptoms such as abdominal distension, abdominal pain, back pain, difficulty urinating, a mass in the abdominal cavity, dysphagia, nausea, and vomiting appear. In most cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed in the first stage, it is discovered incidentally during regular gynecological examinations through seismic examination or ultrasound examination. When detected at the first stage, it is known that the treatment effect is good and the recurrence rate is low.

However, there are very few symptoms that appear in the early stages of ovarian cancer, and even if you feel symptoms and visit a hospital, 70% of them are found in the advanced stage 3 or higher, so it is reported that cancer metastasis or mortality is high. In particular, it is known that the 5-year survival rate of epithelial cell carcinoma, which accounts for about 90% of ovarian cancer, is less than 40% because it is mostly detected at an advanced stage 3 or higher. Therefore, in order to detect and prevent ovarian cancer early, it is recommended to have regular checkups every year. Regular check-ups are very important, especially if you have a family history.

Ovarian Cancer Treatment and Prevention

1. Diagnosis through multiple tests

To diagnose ovarian cancer, the patient’s medical history and family history are checked, and a pelvic examination is performed. In addition to performing imaging tests such as ultrasound, CT, and MRI, tumor marker blood tests (CA-125) and histological tests are performed to confirm ovarian and uterine diseases. It is also known that about 5-10% of ovarian cancer is caused by genes inherited from parents. In particular, it is known that if you have a mutation in the BRCA gene, the chance of developing ovarian cancer is 27-44%. Therefore, it is important to have a genetic test if a family member or relative has been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer, or if a BCRA gene mutation is confirmed.

2. Treatment according to the diagnosis result

Based on the results of this diagnosis, three standard treatments are performed: surgical treatment, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Surgical treatment is the most basic operation for ovarian cancer treatment, and it is the first treatment performed after the diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Various surgical treatments such as hysterectomy and bilateral ovarian and fallopian tube resection are performed. Afterwards, chemotherapy is performed to eliminate the remaining cancer cells and to reduce the recurrence caused by cancer cells. In case of local recurrence of ovarian cancer around the neck and lungs, radiation therapy is performed.

3. Steady regular check-ups even after treatment

For ovarian cancer, cancer recurrence occurs within 5 years in more than 70% of patients undergoing primary surgical operation and chemotherapy. Therefore, after receiving treatment for ovarian cancer, it is important to perform regular checkups to prevent recurrence.

Regular regular check-ups for ovarian cancer patients are performed every 1 to 3 months for 1 year after treatment is complete. From 1 year to 2 years, regular check-ups are conducted at 3-month intervals, from 2 years to 5 years, at 6-month intervals, and after that, regular check-ups are performed once a year.

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