At Dr Daniel’s medical centre, we recommend a personalised approach to ovarian cancer screening from the age of 35 or from 5 years before the age at which your direct relative got ovarian cancer. You are considered at increased risk of ovarian cancer, if you have 2 or more relatives on the same side of the family diagnosed with ovarian cancer or breast cancer before the age of 50.
At the moment there is no strong evidence for screening women for ovarian cancer at population level (we are still waiting for the result of the major UK trial called UKCTOS), but personalised approach with CA125 blood tests and ultrasound scan can be useful for early detection.
Ovarian cancer is when cancer forms from the ovary. It is due to the development of abnormal cells that have the ability to invade or spread to other parts of the body. Early on there is often no symptoms. Later symptoms may include: bloating, pelvic pain, and abdominal swelling among others. Common areas of spread include the lining of the abdomen, lungs, liver or lymph nodes.
Ovarian cancer occurs more frequently in women who ovulate more, thus those who never have children are at increased risk. Other risk factors includehormone therapy after menopause, fertility medication, smoking and obesity. Factors that decrease the risk include hormonal birth control, tubal ligation, andbreast feeding. About 10% of cases run in families and those with the gene mutations BRCA1 or BRCA2 have an approximately 50% risk of the disease. The most common type, making up more than 95% of cases, are ovarian carcinomas. They include five main subtypes of which high-grade serous is most common. These tumors are believed to usually start from the cells covering the ovaries, though some may form from the fallopian tubes. Less common types includegerm cell tumors and sex cord stromal tumors. The diagnosis is confirmed by examination of a biopsy usually removed during surgery.