The notion of ovarian cancer combines manifold malignant neoplasms arising from different cells of the genital glands, with a different course, but similar treatment.
Causes of ovarian cancer
Nine out of ten malignant ovarian tumors emerge from the epithelium, the upper layer of the mucous membrane, and this is glandular cancer or adenocarcinoma. Presumably, the majority of cancers occur precisely in the epithelium covering the ovary, but they can also develop from the mucous membrane of the appendages, the fallopian tubes.
It is assumed that regular pregnancies and breastfeeding practiced by our ancestors gave the sex glands physiological rest manifested in cessation of follicle development and ovulation. Modern abandonment of numerous progeny forces the glands to permanent work and, accordingly, during constant fission of epithelial cells the program may malfunction in the direction of malignancy.
Risk factors for ovarian cancer
It has been noted that ovarian cancer is characteristic of women in developed countries, but due to a very small population of affected Japanese women, it was not urbanization that was considered to be the cause, but the diet, the menu orientation towards animal protein foods. Obesity also was included into the pathology initiation causes.
Since the ovaries are
The other way round, hormonal contraception and pregnancy, and breastfeeding protect against development of a malignant process in the ovarian tissue.
Early puberty and late menopause favor the pathology, but so far the evidence for this hypothesis is not solid.
The condition is considered to be occupational hazard for women engaged in the production of talc.
How does gynecological surgery affect the development of ovarian cancer?
The incidence of the condition does not increase after gynecological surgery, including hysterectomy or tubal ligation, and of course, ovariectomy, despite the presence of ectopic ovarian tissue that did not originate on the «legitimate» anatomical site. Note that ectopia carries the epithelium of reproductive glands not only into the abdominal cavity, but also into the thyroid and mammary glands, and intestine.
Heredity as the condition cause
This cause has been studied better than all the others, although hardly 1 out of 100 women suffers from hereditary cancer, and their total share among all ovarian cancers does not exceed 10%. Only ovarian cancer can be inherited genetically, or together with mammary cancer. The cause of the disease transmission through the female line lies in the presence of mutated genes BRCA1 or BRCA2.
BRCA1 mutation increases malignant process probability by ¼ to ½, BRCA2 mutation, by less than ¼. Inheritance is highly probable family history includes affected close relatives such as mother or sister, who had cancer of the ovaries and the mammary gland in youth, also with the damage of two ovaries at once. Such families should undergo genetic testing, but a likelihood is not yet the objective reality, especially given the 800 variations of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation.
The symptoms of ovarian cancer are associated not so much with the neoplasm type, as with the rate of its growth and spread through the abdominal cavity. Since the abdominal cavity is quite expansive, the signs of the disease do not appear soon, but when the tumor weighs more than a kilogram.