Ovarian cancer affects one of three different cell types in the organ. Depending on the affected cell, the woman may develop one of three types of ovarian cancer. Understanding the symptoms of these diseases may facilitate early detection and treatment.
Epithelial Cell Carcinoma
This ovarian cancer type is the most common, representing about 89% of cases, according to the Foundation for Women’s Cancer. It occurs when cancer develops in the cells that line the ovaries. Because ovarian epithelial cell carcinoma rarely shows symptoms early on, diagnosis is often delayed until the disease has progressed. Women are more likely to develop this type of cancer with a family history of ovarian cancer and colon cancer, ovarian cancer and breast cancer, or ovarian cancer alone. This risk is even more pronounced if you have two or more first-degree family members with this type of cancer history. Individuals with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which indicate a high risk of breast cancer, also have an elevated risk of ovarian cancer. Treatment for epithelial cell carcinoma depends on the extent of the disease’s spread. In the early stages, the doctor typically recommends surgery to remove the cancerous growth, often followed by chemotherapy.
Germ Cell Ovarian Cancer
Several forms of ovarian cancer fall into this category, which develops from the body’s egg cells. Women over 20 are at the highest risk for this type of cancer, which multiplies and can become quite large. However, people who develop germ cell cancer often have positive outcomes with surgical treatment followed by chemotherapy.
Stromal Cell Ovarian Cancer
This rare form of cancer develops from the ovarian cells. Tumors associated with stromal cell ovarian cancer grow slowly and secrete hormones. Sometimes, women with this type of cancer experience facial hair growth, acne, or uterine bleeding. Because these symptoms lead to early diagnosis, patients usually show good outcomes with surgical treatment.
In general, ovarian cancer is associated with advanced age, family history, genetics, and hormone replacement therapy. Research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston shows that some cases of this disease develop after exposure to talcum powder. If you or a family member has developed ovarian cancer symptoms after using this product, schedule a meeting with D’Amico Law Offices, LLC, to determine whether you have a valid product liability lawsuit. Contact us at (412) 652-9300 for a consultation with our Pittsburgh attorneys.