September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Understanding Ovarian Cancer

There’s a lot to learn and understand about ovarian cancer. Simply put, ovarian cancer is cancer that starts in the ovaries or fallopian tubes. Home to three different kinds of cells, it may breed the potential for cancer to start in any one of those cells and form tumors. The cell where the tumor starts may determine the type of ovarian cancer. Each tumor may be given a stage number and grade (two different things) to diagnose the severity.

There are more than 30 different types of ovarian cancer. Here are the three common types of cells where ovarian cancer may start:
  1. Surface epithelium: These are cells that cover the outer lining of the ovaries.
  2. Germ cells: These are egg-producing cells.
  3. Stromal cells: These cells produce hormones.
With ovarian cancer, its signs and symptoms may be common and vague enough that they may not even feel like symptoms at all, which may be the problem. That said, here are three symptoms women have reported:
  1. Bloating or belly pain;
  2. Quickly feeling full when eating or drinking; and
  3. Urinating urgently or often.

Other signs may include extreme tiredness, back pain, constipation, pain during sex, or menstrual changes. If any of these symptoms last for more than two weeks, get worse, or don’t go away with diet, exercise, or rest, visit your doctor.

If you think you may have symptoms of ovarian cancer, schedule a visit with your primary provider (the doctor or provider you might see for your yearly exam).

For more information on ovarian cancer read here.

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