Ovarian cancer – causes, side effects and treatments at NaturalPedia.com

Saturday, May 26, 2018 by

This relatively uncommon type of cancer occurs when there is a proliferation of malignant cells in one or both of the ovaries. These are the reproductive glands found in women. The ovaries are responsible for producing the eggs necessary for reproduction and are also the main source of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. There is one ovary on each side of the uterus.

The ovaries comprise three different types of cells. Each cell can develop into a different type of tumor:

  • Epithelial tumors, which are the most common form the disease, cover the outer surface of the ovary.
  • Germ cell tumors begin from the cells that produce the eggs.
  • Stromal tumors affect the structural tissue cells that hold the ovary together.

Most cases of ovarian cancer are asymptomatic, until they reach their advanced stages. Even then, symptoms are vague and nonspecific. Unfortunately, there are currently no good screening tests for ovarian cancer. Medical professionals discourage women from getting blood tests as they are mostly inaccurate and may lead to unnecessary surgeries.

That said, women should consult with their gynecologist if they experience a vague and general malaise with symptoms such as: Fatigue, getting full quickly, swelling in the abdomen, leg swelling, bowel movement changes, and shortness of breath.

Women who have a family history of ovarian cancer are more at risk of developing it as they reach reproductive age. Other risk factors include: Age (the older the woman is, the higher her risk); early menarche (having one’s first menstruation younger than 12); birth control use; obesity; and never getting pregnant (nulliparity).

The stages of ovarian cancer are as follows:

Stage 1 – Limited to one or both ovaries

Stage 2 – Limited to the pelvic region

Stage 3 – Cancer has spread outside of the pelvis but is limited to the abdomen

Stage 4 – The disease has spread to the liver or outside of the abdomen

Known symptoms of ovarian cancer

As mentioned earlier, this cancer is insidious in its manifestation. Many women may already have the cancer in its early stages but not recognize it. Furthermore, the symptoms of ovarian cancer can be confused with other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, temporary bladder problem, or even an ectopic pregnancy.

Women who experience persistent or the gradual worsening of symptoms, however, are encouraged to see their gynecologist.

Some symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Breathlessness
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Frequent urination
  • Getting full easily
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Pain during sexual intercour
  • Pain in the pelvis and the lower part of the body
  • Unexplained weight loss

Body systems harmed by ovarian cancer

The cancer affects a woman’s reproductive system.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent ovarian cancer

There is evidence that suggest that these nutrients may be helpful in preventing ovarian cancer:

  • Genistein (found in many soy products)
  • Ginger
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Green tea
  • L-carnosine (found in such food items as edamame, asparagus, and watercress)
  • Quercetin (abundant in apples and red wine)
  • Reishi mushrooms
  • Vitamin D

Additionally, women are advised to eat plenty of dark green vegetables and other brightly colored foods.

Treatments, management plans for ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer is usually treated with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Some oncologists may also prescribe hormone treatment.

Those who choose a more natural path can try these:

  • Shittake mushrooms – These contain beta-glucan which shows potential in stopping the growth of some types of cancer.
  • Mint tea – The beverage contains various compounds that strengthen the immune system and promote a faster recovery.
  • Soy products – The isoflavones found in these items stop the transmission of cancer cells. There are also studies that suggest their efficacy in protecting the body from the side effects of chemotherapy.
  • Red onions – These have incredibly high amounts of antioxidants that boost the immune system.

Where to learn more

Summary

Ovarian cancer is the fifth common cause of cancer in women.

Risk factors for developing ovarian cancer include family history, older age, reproductive history, and obesity.

There are no good screening options for ovarian cancer.

Sources include:

Cancer.gov

Cancer.org

MedicineNet.com

RaySahelian.com

StepToHealth.com



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