There are more than 30 different types of ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer is a disease affecting the ovaries. These female reproductive organs
are the glands responsible for releasing eggs (or ova, hence the name) and producing estrogen and progesterone hormones. Ovarian cancer begins as a malignant tumor in one or both ovaries and is more common in post-menopausal women and those with other increased risk factors. About 85 to 90% of ovarian cancers are epithelial in nature.
For a list of different types,
Ovarian cancer is commonly referred to as a "silent killer".
The growth of ovarian cancer cells may not produce any noticeable symptoms. Since the ovaries are about the size of an almond and located deep within the pelvic area, they are difficult to feel and the symptoms often do not occur until the tumor has grown and spread beyond the ovaries. Furthermore, symptoms -- such as abdominal bloating/swelling, pain/ pressure in the pelvic area and changes in appetite/ bowel functions -- are similar to many less life-threatening, non-cancerous conditions.
The only way to diagnose ovarian cancer is through a biopsy of the tumor.
Ovarian Cancer is difficult to diagnose. Currently, there is no effective method for the early detection of ovarian cancer. To date, primarily two tests have been used: a CA-125 blood test (which detects the levels of protein found in ovarian cancer cells), and a trans-vaginal ultrasound (or TVU, which monitors local ovarian activity). Alone, neither is a reliable indicator of the presence of the disease, but ongoing studies to determine the efficacy of the two tests used in combination have shown encouraging results.
Only through vigilant self-advocacy can a woman increase her chances of survival.
If detected in the early stages there is an 85 to 90% chance for a cure. With early treatment, the five-year survival rate is greater than 92 percent. However, once the disease has progressed beyond the ovaries, the survival rate beyond five years is only 20 to 25%. Sadly, more than 70% of women with ovarian cancer will not be diagnosed until the disease has reached an advanced stage.
The NormaLeah Foundation is encouraged by the breadth and scope of research that is being conducted to change these statistics. Throughout the world, researchers are developing new technologies to improve the prevention, detection, and treatment methods which will increase the survival rate for this deadly disease. As part of our mission we fund research aimed at finding a reliable method of early detection.
Please join us in rising up against ovarian cancer by donating today.
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