Friday, December 9, 2011

Brief Explanation of Ovarian Cancer and It's Lab Test CA-125

Ovarian cancer disease is also known as the silent killer. That is because the disease is usually found when the patient is in the final stages of this cancer. Many women do not know the early warning signs of this cancer. Believe it or not, the American Cancer Society ranks this cancer as the fourth cause of cancer death in women.

What are the ovaries and what do they do?

The ovaries are the internal almond-shaped organs that are located internally on each side of the pelvis. The purpose of the ovaries is to produce eggs on a monthly basis. They are used for the fertilization process, which is pregnancy.

Where does the cancer start?

The tumor starts in one or both of the ovaries. Cancer cells from the original cancer place can spread to other parts of the body.

What are the signs and symptoms I should know?

    * Abdominal bloating, abdominal pressure, and abdominal pain
    * Nausea, indigestion, constipation, or diarrhea
    * A loss of appetite
    * A feeling of being full even after a light mean has been eaten
    * A sudden weight loss or even gain for no apparent reason
    * Unexplainable vaginal bleeding
    * Pain during sexual intercourse
    * Fatigue and back aches

**It is best to seek medical attention if these symptoms continue for 2 or more weeks**

Are there women who are at risk for this cancer?

Certain risk factors make some women more at risk. These factors include:

    * Family history, such as your mother and/or sister
    * Family history of breast or colon cancer has also been tied to ovarian cancer
    * Women over the age of 50 are at a higher risk; and increases even more at age 60 or older
    * Women who have never had children are at a higher risk than women who did have children
    * If a woman has a personal history of breast or colon cancer, this puts her at a higher risk to develop ovarian cancer

Is the pap test used to find ovarian cancer?

No, this test is used to screen for cervical cancer.

What tests are used for screening ovarian cancer?

At this point in time, there is no specific screening to detect ovarian cancer.

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