Ovarian cancer: Causes, symptoms and treatments

Ovarian cancer represents between 4-5% of female tumors. In medical terms, there are several types of ovarian cancer, the most common serous carcinoma, adenocarcinomas, mucinous carcinomas and germ cell (the latter are more common in younger women). Ovarian cancer usually shows no symptoms in its early stages, so most cases are diagnosed in advanced stages.

ovarian cancer

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It is estimated that 5-10% of ovarian cancers respond to inherited genetic factors. A family history of ovarian, breast, endometrial or colon cancer increases the risk of developing this type of tumor. Women are also more vulnerable carriers of a genetic mutation in the gene known as BRCA1 or BRCA2.

It is not the only factor to consider; since several studies have found that hormone replacement therapy in menopause may increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer. By contrast, oral contraceptives itself can help reduce the risks. We must not underestimate other risk factors such as age (the majority of cases are diagnosed in the stage of menopause), the duration of the ovulation period, and the late menopause, and overweight, lack of pregnancy or smoking. Some studies have shown that infertility may be associated with a moderate risk of developing ovarian cancer.


Ovarian cancer symptoms does not present, as noted, in the early stages, so it is difficult to identify it early, but there three possible signs that may indicate their presence: to have swollen abdomen, need to urinate frequently, and a continuous feeling of fullness even on an empty stomach.

Generic and common symptoms to other diseases, and therefore can be underestimated. For an accurate diagnosis should be performed gynecological examination, and thereafter determine the need for further tests.


Ovarian cancer is treated with surgery which size varies depending on the stage at which the disease is. The surgery is usually followed by chemotherapy that varies depending on the size of the excised tumor.