Ovarian cancer is a group of diseases that begin in the ovaries or related areas of the fallopian tubes and peritoneum. Women have two ovaries located in the area of the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus. The ovaries produce female hormones and eggs. Women have two fallopian tubes, a pair of long, thin tubes that extend on either side of the uterus. Oocytes pass from the ovaries through the fallopian tubes to the uterus. The peritoneum is the mucous tissue that covers the organs in the abdomen.
If ovarian cancer is found early, treatment can be far more successful. Ovarian cancer often has signs and symptoms, so it is important to know your body and recognize what conditions are normal for you. Symptoms can be caused by a condition other than cancer, but the only way to find out is to see a doctor, nurse or other healthcare professional.
Some mutations (gene changes) can increase the risk of ovarian cancer. Mutations in the predisposition genes for breast cancer 1 and 2 (BRCA1 and BRCA2) and those associated with Lynch syndrome increase the risk of ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer occurs in various types of tumors. The most common type of tumor is high-grade serous cancer, which occurs in about 70% of ovarian cancers.
What are the risk factors for ovarian cancer?
There is no way to know for sure if you will get ovarian cancer. Most of the women who received it were not at high risk. However, several factors can increase a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer, including:
- That you are a middle-aged or older woman.
- Have close maternal or paternal relatives (such as a mother, sister, aunt, or grandmother) who have had ovarian cancer.
- Have a gene mutation (abnormality) called BRCA1 or BRCA2 or a gene mutation associated with Lynch syndrome.
- You have had breast, uterine or colon cancer.
- You are a descendant of a Jew (Ashkenazi) from Eastern Europe.
- Have endometriosis (a condition in which the lining of the uterus grows in other parts of the body).
- You did not have children or you had problems conceiving.
Also, some studies indicate that women who take estrogen alone (without progesterone) for 10 years or more may have an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
If you have one or more of these factors, it does not mean that you will get ovarian cancer. But you should talk to your doctor about your risk. If you and your family have a history of ovarian cancer, talk to your doctor about genetic counseling.
What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer?
Ovarian cancer can cause the following signs and symptoms:
Vaginal bleeding or ejaculation (especially if you have gone through menopause) which is not normal.
Pain or pressure in the pelvic area.
Abdominal or back pain
Feeling full or eaten very quickly.
Changes in bathroom habits, such as the need for more frequent or urgent urination and / or constipation.
Get to know your body so you can recognize the normal conditions for you. If you have vaginal bleeding that is not normal, consult a doctor immediately. If you have any other symptoms that are not normal for you for more than two weeks, you should see a doctor. These symptoms may not be related to ovarian cancer, but the only way to find out is to see your doctor.
Use the list below to check for possible symptoms over a two-week period.
How is ovarian cancer treated?
If your doctor tells you that you have ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer, ask your gynecologist for an oncologist, a doctor who is trained to treat cancer of the female reproductive system. Gynecological oncologists can perform surgeries and give chemotherapy (drugs) to women with ovarian cancer. Your doctor can make a treatment plan for you.
Types of treatment
Ovarian cancer treatment is usually a combination of surgery and chemotherapy.
Surgical intervention: The doctor surgically removes the cancerous tissue.
Chemotherapy: Treatment that uses special drugs to reduce or kill the tumor. These drugs can be given in the form of tablets or intravenously, and sometimes in both ways.
These treatments are applied by various doctors who are part of the medical team in charge of a cancer patient.
Gynecological oncologists specialize in the treatment of female reproductive cancer.
Surgeons are doctors who perform operations.
Clinical trials are medical research that seeks to discover new treatment options. If you have cancer, you may be interested in participating.
Which treatment is right for me?
Choosing the right treatment for you can be difficult. Talk to your doctor about cancer about treatment options for your type and stage of cancer. Your doctor will explain the risks and benefits of each treatment, as well as its side effects. Side effects are the body’s reaction to drugs or other treatments.
7 foods and nutrients that can help you against ovarian cancer
Proper nutrition is crucial for maintaining good health.
And it is also for preventing cancer.
While it is true that in many cases it is linked to genetics and hereditary factors, a person’s lifestyle can also increase or decrease the risk of developing the disease.
Some research estimates that up to 30% to 40% of cancers could be prevented by a healthy lifestyle and certain dietary measures.
It has been proven that foods with few nutrients and rich in concentrated sugars and refined flour (such as ultra-processed), excessive red meat and a diet low in fiber can increase the chances of getting cancer.
Specifically, given ovarian cancer, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in animal fats, fried and smoked foods can help prevent or fight this serious disease, which is based on certain scientific evidence.
It should be understood that there is no miracle food that can offer a complete barrier against any type of disease, much less against cancer.
But, as it was said, a rich, varied and healthy diet, with an abundance of fruits and vegetables, can greatly reduce the chances of developing ovarian cancer.
And not only that, in addition, as some research shows, even this type of diet can increase the chances of survival in the years following the diagnosis of ovarian cancer.
Here we will show some nutrients and foods that science points to and their beneficial effect against ovarian cancer.
Broccoli and other leafy vegetables
Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale and cabbage, among others, contain special elements and seem to contribute to reducing the risk of some types of cancer.
Specifically, the 2007 study. years old she discovered that she was sulforaphane present in these foods, especially in broccoli, favored the inhibition of cell clonogenic capacity in ovarian cancer.
Foods rich in flavonoids
Flavonoids are a powerful antioxidant compound found in a variety of vegetables and fruits, such as berries, spinach, broccoli, nuts, as well as tea and cocoa.
According to scientific evidence, some types of flavonoids play an important role against ovarian cancer. As research has shown, the combination of quercetin and genistein can prevent the growth of ovarian cancer cells by modifying different phases of the cell cycle.
Second study, published in 2007. found that certain types of these antioxidants can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.
After monitoring in patients who ingested up to 5 types of flavonoids (myricetin, kaempferol, quercetin, luteolin and apigenin), a significant reduction in the incidence of ovarian cancer by 40% was found in those with a higher percentage of kaempferol, which can be found in broccoli, grapes , apples or grapefruit.
Study 1994 years found evidence of a role vitamin D. , which is produced when our skin is exposed to the sun, as a protector against mortality in ovarian cancer.
Other research focusing on the role of this vitamin in certain cancers states that vitamin D can be used for the prevention or therapy against “cervical cancer, breast and ovarian cancer”.
Selenium has been shown to have a positive effect on patients with ovarian cancer who are on chemotherapy. It helps in aspects related to hair, increase of erythrocytes and white blood cells.
The inclusion of selenium and vitamin E, along with other antioxidants, appears to reduce the toxicity of chemotherapy in patients undergoing it.
Brazil nuts, hazelnuts or mushrooms are foods rich in this mineral.
Turmeric and its derivatives curcumin are widely used as food additives in India.
“As far as I know, it’s probably the most powerful natural anti-inflammatory,” said Ajai Goel, a cancer researcher at Business Inisider.
In addition, turmeric can also be effective in the fight against cancer, because according to certain studies, it is able to slow down the growth of tumors and even acts as a blocker for cancer cells.
Green leafy vegetables
According to research published in the journal Nature and focused on the role that diet can play in coping with cancer, it has been found that higher intake of green leafy vegetables could be associated with higher survival of women with ovarian cancer.
This may be because these foods, especially spinach, are rich in beta-carotene, lutein – zeaxanthin and other vitamins and minerals. Some studies link the positive effects of lutein on ovarian cancer.
Foods rich in fiber
A high-fiber diet is also associated with lower mortality from ovarian cancer.
According to a review of thirteen studies with a total of 142,189 participants and a total of 5,777 cases of ovarian cancer, it was determined that high fiber intake could be associated with a lower risk of suffering from it.
Legumes, chia seeds, wheat bran or almonds are some of the foods richest in fiber.
Ginger kills ovarian cancer cells, according to research from the University of Michigan
Ginger is known for its effects on relieving nausea and controlling inflammation, but researchers at the University of Michigan Cancer Center are studying the possibility of using this ancient drug to treat ovarian cancer.
In laboratory studies, researchers discovered that ginger caused the death of ovarian cancer cells. Furthermore, because of the way cells die, the results suggest that ginger can prevent the common problem of ovarian cancer, which is the resistance of cancer cells to standard chemotherapy treatment.
The University of Michigan team used powdered ginger, similar to that found in health food stores, with the only difference being that the one used was of standard quality for research. Ginger powder is dissolved in the liquid and injected into the culture of ovarian cancer cells. Ginger caused the death of all cancer cell lines that were tested.
Researchers have even discovered that ginger has caused two types of cancer cell death. One type, known as apoptosis, is basically the suicide of cancer cells. Another type of cell death, autophagy , occurs when cells eat or attack themselves.
Summary of research with ginger
“Most patients with ovarian cancer develop a recurrent disease that eventually becomes resistant to standard chemotherapy, which is associated with resistance to apoptosis. If ginger can cause cell death such as autophagy, in addition to apoptosis, resistance to conventional chemotherapy can be avoided, “said study author J. Rebecca Liu, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan School of Medicine and a member of the Comprehensive Cancer Center. the same university.
Studies are initial and researchers want to test whether they can get similar results in animal tests. A promising item of the potential ginger treatment is that it has practically no side effects and is easy to consume in a capsule.
Ginger and inflammation
Ginger is effective in suppressing inflammation and inflammation is known to contribute to the development of ovarian cancer cells. If inflammatory reactions can be eliminated, researchers believe that ginger could also stop the growth of cancer cells.
“In several cancer cell lines, we found that death caused by ginger has a rate similar to or better than chemotherapy with drugs commonly used to treat ovarian cancer,” said Jennifer Rhode, a researcher in the Department of Gynecological Oncology.
Liu’s laboratory is also studying the effect of resveratrol, a substance found in red wine and turmeric, the active ingredient in saffron, on ovarian cancer. In addition, researchers from the Comprehensive Cancer Center are investigating ginger and its use in controlling nausea caused by chemotherapy and in preventing colon cancer.
“Patients use these natural products as a substitute or as an adjunct to chemotherapy, but we don’t know if they help and how they help. We do not know how these products interact with chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. There is no good clinical information, “says Liu.
This year, more than 20,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and 15,000 will die from that disease, according to the American Cancer Society.