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Ovarian Cancer - Who Is At Risk Of Developing It?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Nikunj K Vithalani 92% (18 ratings)
MBBS, MS - General Surgery, DNB - Surgical Oncology
Oncologist, Surat  •  18 years experience
Ovarian Cancer - Who Is At Risk Of Developing It?

Ovarian cancer is characterized by the uncontrolled and rapid cell division and proliferation that develops in the ovary and its associated cells and tissues. There was a time when ovarian cancer detected at a later stage was almost untreatable. However, with latest pathbreaking discoveries, the situation has undergone a drastic improvement.

Types of ovarian cancer
While ovarian cancer can be of different types, three major types of ovarian cancer include - Epithelial ovarian cancer, Stromal ovarian cancers, and Germ cell ovarian cancers.

  • Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is the most common type of ovarian cancer affecting females. In EOC, the cancerous growth develops in the outer layer that covers the ovary.
  • The malignant tumor or cancer can also develop on the lining of the fallopian tube (fallopian tube cancer) or the lining of the abdomen or peritoneum (Primary peritoneal cancer).
  • Stromal ovarian cancers are found to originate from the cells that are involved in the production of estrogen and progesterone (female hormones).
  • Germ cell ovarian cancer, as indicative of the name, develop in the germ cells (cells responsible for the production of ova and eggs.

Unfortunately, in most of the cases, the early stages of ovarian cancer are asymptomatic. The symptoms usually appear as cancer progresses to the advanced stages making the condition almost untreatable. However, some of the warning signs that should be medically examined and investigated include

Who are at a risk of suffering from ovarian cancer?

  • A family history of breast cancer (especially in mother and sisters).
  • Testing positive for a BRCA gene test (indicates the presence of mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes)
  • Women who get their periods at a much younger age with a delayed menopause (ovulate longer than usual).
  • Women who are unable to conceive.
  • In some rare cases, medical conditions such as Cowden's syndrome, Lynch syndrome or Fraumeni syndrome can also contribute to ovarian cancer.

Latest breakthroughs related to ovarian cancer
Of late there have been some commendable breakthroughs and inventions that can increase the effectiveness of ovarian cancer treatment by many folds.
One such breakthrough is the discovery of a drug ONX-0801. The drug which is found to mimic folic acid (to gain access to the cell) works by blocking the activity of Thymidylate Synthase. The London’s Royal Marsden Hospital carried out a trial run of the drug ONX-0801 on 10 women with ovarian cancer. The results were truly encouraging. The drug was found to shrink the size of the malignant tumor in around 7 women. However, research is being carried out to enhance the effectiveness of the drug further. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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