SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF OVARIAN CANCER
If you notice one or more of the following signs or symptoms it is advisable to talk to your gynecologist:
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- Bloating or abdominal distention
- Abnormal changes in bowel movements or bladder habits
- Tiredness and easily feeling short of breath
- Loss of appetite or filling full after eating only a little food
Age, genetics, lifestyle and reproductive history are considered as major determining factors for ovarian cancer.
AGE – Incidence of ovarian cancer is known to increase with age. The vast majority of patients are above the age of 40 and more than 50% of ovarian cancers are detected in women 63 years of age or older.
REPRODUCTIVE HISTORY – Women who have been pregnant and carried it to term have been shown to have a lower risk of cancer than those who have never experienced a full term pregnancy. Hormonal contraceptives are associated with lower risk of ovarian cancer.
LIFESTYLE – Smoking and obesity are linked to higher incidence of ovarian cancer
GENETICS – Women with a family history of cancer are more prone to ovarian cancer. Those with an immediate female family member (mother/sister/daughter) with ovarian cancer have a much higher likelihood of being affected. Certain mutations are inherited from previous generations and these account for 5-10% of reported ovarian cancers cases.
Women with a family history of mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes are highly predisposed to breast cancer and have a significantly higher risk of also being affected by ovarian cancer.