Have уоu bееn wоndеrіng іf it is асtuаllу роѕѕіblе tо get ovarian cancer in menopause? Indееd, hоw is іt роѕѕіblе to get ovarian cancer when your оvаrіеѕ no longer produce аnу еggѕ? Well, іt is nоt thаt ѕіmрlе and оvаrіеѕ саn still dеvеlор ovarian cancer even a few уеаrѕ after the menopause.
The physiological changes that occur during menopause are among the high-risk factors to developing ovarian cancer.
Ovaries are the two female reproductive glands that produce eggs, also producing the female hormones estrogen and progesterone—the ovarian consists of three types of cell: epithelial, germ and stromal. When the cells grow abnormally, they develop tumours, that can either be cancerous or not cancerous.
Factors that Increase the Risk of Ovarian Cancer in Menopause
What exactly causes ovarian cancer is still unknown, though there are some factors that increase the risk of developing cancer such as:
- A woman is defined as being at a high risk of ovarian cancer if she has a first-degree relative affected by cancer or a strong family history of breast and ovarian cancer.
- Another factor is an inherited genetic syndrome such as Lynch syndrome, and having a mutation of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.
- Menopause treatment; such a Hormone replacement therapy “Studies looking at whether HRT increases your risk of ovarian cancer have so far had conflicting results. It’s thought that if there is an increase in cases of ovarian cancer among women taking HRT, the increase is very small”. (1)
👉You might want to know more about HRT
The Most Common Types of Ovarian Cancer
- Epithelial tumours come from epithelial cells that line the surface of the ovaries. They represent more than 90% of malignant neoplasms of the ovary.
- Germ cell tumours “are benign or malignant neoplasms derived from germ cells, which give rise to sperm and eggs”.
- Stromal tumours are about 7% of ovarian tumours, which originate from the supportive tissue of the ovary, which produces estrogen and progesterone.
Do not Ignore the Symptoms
Changes in the abdominal region; the most common symptoms occur in the abdomen area, such as pain on the left or right side. You may experience fatigue or feel pressure in that area of the body, not an increase in the volume of the abdomen.
Other common symptoms include:
- Pain during sexual intercourse.
- Frequent urination, due to the pressure of the cyst on the bladder.
- Intestinal pain or discomfort.
- Lack of appetite.
- Vaginal bleeding.
- Changes in intestinal habits.
How to Test Ovarian Cancer
Pelvic examination – That is, the gynaecological examination and palpation of the abdomen, to analyze the size, consistency of the uterus and ovaries. The pelvic exam can detect some types of cancer in the initial phase, but it is difficult to see the tumour in the ovary in the initial stage. The doctor and the patient can evaluate the possibility of doing other types of tests.
TVUS (transvaginal ultrasound) – The doctor inserts ultrasound wand into the vagina to observe the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. This type of test may find a mass (tumour) in the ovary. However, it is necessary to have a biopsy to have a precise diagnosis.
Blood test (CA125) – CA-125 is a protein in the blood. A high level of CA125 in the blood may be a sign of ovarian cancer, but, further tests are necessary before making a precise diagnosis. To learn more about it, click here.
A biopsy – It may seem daunting, but it is a surefire way to diagnose ovarian cancer. La biopsia è un test per prelevare un tessuto dell’ovaio per farlo analizzare in laboratorio e per ricercare la presenza o l’assenza di cellule cancerose.
What are the Stages? How can be Treated?
Once ovarian cancer has been diagnosed, the next step is to certify what the stage of the disease is, to implement the necessary treatments.
“The treatment for ovarian cancer depends on how far it has spread, your general health and whether you’re still able to have children. Most people have a combination of surgery and chemotherapy“. 🤷 If you may need more information.
1) When the cell’s cancer spreads to one or both ovaries, the cancer is in stage 1. The symptoms can be abdominal bloating, pressure, and pain.
2) Stage 2 ovarian cancer extends to the pelvis area. The main treatments are surgery and chemotherapy.
3) Stage 3 is divided into three groups – 3A, 3B and 3C. Cancer has spread from the ovary and is advanced ovarian cancer. The doctor will decide if you can have surgery or not, after many considerations about how widely cancer has spread and the general condition of the patient. If you cannot have an operation, you might need chemotherapy to slow down cancer as much as possible. Alternatively, you can have radiotherapy to reduce the symptoms.
4) Stage 4 cancer extends into the liver and beyond the abdomen area. Treatment to ovarian cancer will consist of surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible, followed by combination chemotherapy.