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Ovarian Cancer
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Ovarian cancer is fairly rare among women in the US. And it's hard to find in the early stages. But women can lower their risk.      To access your Melanoma Cancer Risk completely, at ScienceofLife we have produced a general questionnaire with a fair knowledge of risk Factors and related knowlegebase.

Questionnaire : To estimate your risk of ovarian cancer, take about 2 to 3 minutes to answer some questions about your health, lifestyle and personal background. Please fill in these questions to access your risk of Ovarian Cancer.

1. What is your sex?
2. What is your age?    
Years
3. Have you ever had any type of cancer (except for non-melanoma skin cancer)?  
4. What's the total amount of time you've ever taken birth control pills?  
5. How many children have you given birth to?  
6. Have you had your fallopian tubes tied?  
7. Have you ever had a hysterectomy?  
8. Has your mother, sister  ever had overian cancer?  

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Risk factors : Most scientists agree that these things affect the risk of ovarian cancer. Some may apply to you, but others may not.

Age and ovarian cancer : The risk of ovarian cancer goes up with age. While some women in their 20's and 30's get ovarian cancer, the large majority of cases are diagnosed in women over 45. The average age that ovarian cancer is found is 61.

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Birth control pills and ovarian cancer : Women who take birth control pills for at least 5 years have a lower risk of ovarian cancer. The longer a woman takes the pill, the more she lowers her risk. While a woman is taking them, birth control pills keep her from ovulating (when the ovaries produce an egg). Ovulating raises the amount of estrogen a woman is exposed to throughout her life. Estrogen is a female reproductive hormone mainly released during the menstrual cycle. High levels of estrogen may cause cells in the ovaries to become cancerous. Birth control pills can have positive and negative effects on a woman's health. If taken for at least 5 years, birth control pills can lower a woman's risk of colon cancer, uterine cancer and ovarian cancer. But while she's taking them, they raise her risk of breast cancer, heart attack and stroke. When she stops taking them, her risk returns to normal. For some women, they can also cause side effects like nausea and vomiting.

WARNING: Smoking and taking birth control pills can be a deadly combination. Together, they greatly increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. All women who smoke should quit for good as soon as possible.

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Number of births and ovarian cancer : Women who give birth to less than 2 children have a higher risk of ovarian cancer. The fewer pregnancies a woman has, the more she ovulates (when the ovaries produce an egg). Ovulating raises the amount of estrogen a woman is exposed to throughout her life. Estrogen is a female reproductive hormone mainly released during the menstrual cycle. High levels of estrogen may cause cells in the ovaries to become cancerous. Women who give birth to less than 2 children also have a higher risk of breast cancer and cervical cancer.

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Breast feeding and ovarian cancer : Women who breast feed for at least 1 year combined over all pregnancies have a lower risk of ovarian cancer. The more a woman breast feeds, the less she ovulates (when the ovaries produce an egg). Ovulating raises the amount of estrogen a woman is exposed to throughout her life. Estrogen is a female reproductive hormone mainly released during the menstrual cycle. High levels of estrogen may cause cells in the ovaries to become cancerous. Women who breast feed also have a lower risk of breast cancer.

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Tied Fallopian Tubes and ovarian cancer : Women who get their fallopian tubes tied have a lower risk of ovarian cancer. Scientists aren't sure why. After the operation, there may be changes in hormone levels which help protect the ovaries from cancer.

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Hysterectomy and ovarian cancer : Women who've had a hysterectomy have a lower risk of ovarian cancer. Scientists aren't sure why. After the operation, there may be changes in hormone levels which help protect the ovaries from cancer.

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Family History and ovarian cancer : Women who have a mother or sister with ovarian cancer have a higher risk of the disease. This is because a small number of ovarian cancers are linked to mutations in the genetic structure (DNA) of the body's cells. These mutations can be passed on from generation to generation. With many diseases, people who have a family history have a higher risk. A family history raises the risk of several cancers like bladder, ovarian cancer, kidney and skin cancer. It also raises the risk of diabetes, bone loss (osteoporosis) and stroke.

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Fact Analysis

What is ovarian cancer? Ovarian cancer occurs when the cells in the ovaries grow out of control. The cells clump together and form a malignant (cancerous) tumor. The ovaries are part of the female reproductive system. Women have 2 ovaries, one on each side of the uterus. They're about the size and shape of an almond. Each month, the ovaries produce an egg. They also produce the female reproductive hormones, estrogen and progesterone. The ovaries are connected to the uterus (womb) by fallopian tubes.

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How common is ovarian cancer? About 23,000 American women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year.

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Who is at risk of getting ovarian cancer? All women can get ovarian cancer, but it usually strikes women over age 50. And the risk quickly goes up with age. Women with a family history of ovarian cancer have a higher risk.

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How do you lower your risk of ovarian cancer? If you are under age 50, consider taking birth control pills. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits. Tying the fallopian tubes and having a hysterectomy also lower risk. Women have these surgeries for many reasons -- but not if the only reason is to to lower their risk of ovarian cancer. 

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What is the screening test? There is no good screening test to find ovarian cancer in its early stages. If you're concerned about ovarian cancer, talk to a doctor about your risk. If your risk is high, a doctor may want you to get certain tests.

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What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer? Ovarian cancer often has mild or no symptoms in the early stages. But as the cancer grows, symptoms may include: 

  • Pain or bloating in the lower part of the stomach
  • A lump in the stomach
  • A loss of appetite
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss 

Some of these symptoms may be caused by something less serious like an ovarian cyst. Only a doctor can know for sure. If you have any of these symptoms, see to a doctor immediately.

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