Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian Cancer: Overview

Ovarian cancer has long been called "The Silent Killer", because it usually isn't discovered until its advanced stages.  In 70-75% of cases the cancer has spread to other parts of the abdomen before it is detected.  However, the truth is that early-stage ovarian cancer often does produce symptoms – but they are subtle.

Diagnose your symptoms now!
  • let The Analyst™ find what's wrong
  • check your overall health status
  • learn what you should be doing right now

Causes and Development

There are several types of ovarian cancer.  The most common type develops from the cells of the epithelium, or the surface of the ovary; these cells are epithelial cells.  This accounts for about 90% of all ovarian cancers.  The second kind of tumor starts in the germ cells that form the eggs in the ovary.  Germ cell cancers account for 5% of ovarian cancers.  Stromal cell tumors develop from the tissue that holds the ovary together and produces the female hormones.  This type of ovarian cancer accounts for 5% of the cases.

Signs and Symptoms

The disease is vague in presentation, making detection and diagnosis difficult.  Clearly defined symptoms usually do not occur until the cancer spreads, and the list of early symptoms contains a number of symptoms that can also result from a wide variety of non-cancerous conditions.

Treatment and Prevention

Depending on the stage of the disease, conventional treatment options for ovarian cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and biological therapy.  Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy can cause a variety of side-effects.  Hormone therapy can cause vaginal dryness as well as nausea and vomiting, swelling, weight gain and hot flashes.  Most side-effects from cancer treatments are temporary and will go away once therapy ends.  However, some ovarian cancer therapies may cause kidney damage.  This side-effect may be prevented by drinking plenty of water.

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Ovarian Cancer:

Symptoms - Abdomen

Significant/slight abdominal distension

Abdominal swelling/bloating/clothes being too tight is a possible early warning sign.  The symptoms of ovarian cancer are vague, which means that it is often diagnosed too late.  If bloating is continuous and you have other symptoms such as abdominal fullness and pain, it should be considered.

Symptoms - Bowel Movements

Symptoms - Gas-Int - General

(Frequent) meal-related bloating

Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as gas, indigestion, nausea, or changes in bowel movements, are sometimes early warning signs.

Symptoms - Metabolic

Symptoms - Reproductive - Female Cycle

Symptoms - Reproductive - General

Symptoms - Respiratory

Symptoms - Urinary

Feeling false urges to urinate

Urinary urgency, burning or spasms are possible early warning signs.

Conditions that suggest Ovarian Cancer:

General

Hormones

High Female Testosterone Level

When testosterone levels are very elevated, ovarian cancer can be a concern.

Pain

Reproductive

Endometriosis

Endometriosis has been linked to the environmental contaminant dioxin and a lack of physical activity, both of which are associated with an increased ovarian cancer risk.

Symptoms - Cancer

Risk factors for Ovarian Cancer:

Medical Procedures

Counter-indicators

Metabolic

Problems Caused By Being Overweight

Examples of cancers linked to obesity are breast and ovarian cancer – it is thought that the excess estrogen produced by obese patients increases their chance of developing hormone-sensitive versions of these cancers.

Nutrients

Iodine Requirement

Geographic differences in the rates of breast, endometrial and ovarian cancer appear to be linked to iodine intake, suggesting that low intake may produce increased gonadotrophin stimulation leading to a hyperestrogenic state characterized by a relatively low estriol : (estrone + estradiol) ratio which may increase the risk of these cancers.  [Lancet, pp.890-1, 1976]

Selenium Requirement

20,305 American women were followed prospectively for 20 years.  Initial serum selenium levels were found to be inversely related to the risk of ovarian cancer.  [J Natl Cancer Inst 88(1): pp.32-7, 1996]

Symptoms - Cancer

Symptoms - Food - Beverages

(High) coffee consumption

Studies linking coffee consumption with cancer are conflicting and inconclusive at this point, but there is a suggestion of a higher incidence of cancers of the pancreas, ovaries, bladder, and kidneys in coffee drinkers.

Symptoms - Food - Intake

(Low/high) dairy product consumption

The International Journal of Cancer (2004 Jun 10; 110;2: pp.271-7) contains one of the largest studies ever (80,326 participants), which links the consumption of milk and dairy products to increased risk of ovarian cancer.  The researchers determined that each 11gm increase in daily milk sugar consumption (the amount contained in one glass of milk) resulted in a 20% increase in the risk of serious cancers, with skim milk and low-fat milk containing higher amounts of lactose than whole milk.

In 1999, the American Journal of Epidemiology (Volume 150) reported: "Poor absorption of lactose may more than double the risk of ovarian cancer in women."

The British journal Lancet (1989, Volume 2) reported: "Galactose is linked both to ovarian cancer and infertility... women who consume dairy products on a regular basis have triple the risk of ovarian cancer than other women."

Symptoms - Reproductive - General

Concerned or curious about your health?  Try The Analyst™
Symptom Entry
Symptom Entry
Diagnosis
Diagnosis
Suggestions
Suggestions
LifeMeter
LifeMeter®
Full Explanations
Explanations
Optional Doctor Review
Review (optional)

Ovarian Cancer suggests the following may be present:

Nutrients

Selenium Requirement

20,305 American women were followed prospectively for 20 years.  Initial serum selenium levels were found to be inversely related to the risk of ovarian cancer.  [J Natl Cancer Inst 88(1): pp.32-7, 1996]

Tumors, Malignant

Ovarian Cancer can lead to:

General

Hormones

High Female Testosterone Level

When testosterone levels are very elevated, ovarian cancer can be a concern.

Pain

Reproductive

Recommendations for Ovarian Cancer:

Drug

LDN - Low Dose Naltrexone

Dr. Bihari reports some success using LDN on ovarian cancers.

Hydrazine Sulfate

See the link between Cancer (General) and Hydrazine Sulfate.

Extract

DIM / I3C

See the link between Breast Cancer and DIM.

Lab Tests/Rule-Outs

Test for Hormones

Testing for estrogens and progesterone may help to properly evaluate breast and ovarian cancer risk as some estrogens will promote risk while progesterone may protect against this cancer risk.

Preventive measures against Ovarian Cancer:

Diet

Plant-Based Nutrition

The intake of vegetable fiber, but not of fruit or cereal fiber, was found to be negatively associated with risk of ovarian cancer, with a 37% decrease in the odds for each 10gm per day addition.  [Am J Epidemiol 139(11): S37, 1994]

Consumption of foods containing beta-carotene by 71 women with epithelial cancer of the ovary and 141 matched controls was investigated.  Consumption of carrots was found to decrease risk.  [Nutr Cancer 15: pp.239-47, 1991]

Fried Foods Avoidance

16,000 Seventh Day Adventist women who consumed eggs at least 3 times weekly, had a 3 times greater risk of fatal ovarian cancer than did women who ate eggs less than once weekly.  Fish, chicken and potatoes were also positively associated with fatal ovarian cancer when they were fried.  Consumption of fried eggs showed the strongest association with fatal ovarian cancer, perhaps due to interference with cholesterol biosynthesis and consequently the manufacture of ovarian hormones from the production of cytotoxic oxidation products of cholesterol.  [ JAMA 254(3): pp.356-7, 1985]

Increased Fish Consumption

Study subjects who ate two or more servings of fish weekly had a much lower risk for esophageal, stomach, colon, rectum, and pancreatic cancers than those who avoided fish.  In fact, the rates of these types of cancer were 30 to 50 percent lower among fish eaters.  High fish consumption was also associated with lower risks for cancers of the larynx (30 percent lower risk), endometrial cancer (20 percent lower risk), and ovarian cancer (30 percent lower risk).

Animal/Saturated Fats Avoidance

630 women aged 35-79 with ovarian cancer were studied.  Increasing saturated fat consumption was associated with an increasing risk of ovarian cancer.  No relationship was seen with the intake of unsaturated fats.  [J Natl Cancer Inst 86( 18): pp.1409-15, 1994]

450 histologically confirmed new primary epithelial ovarian cancer cases aged 35-79 were compared to 564 randomly selected population controls.  Cholesterol from eggs was related to increased risk.  [Am J Epidemiol 139(11): S37, 1994]

Caffeine/Coffee Avoidance

Studies linking coffee consumption with cancer are conflicting and inconclusive at this point, but there is a suggestion of a higher incidence of cancers of the pancreas, ovaries, bladder, and kidneys in coffee drinkers.

Environmental

Chemical Avoidance

There is research indicating a potential link between the use of genital talcum powder and ovarian cancer.  Thus, the use of talcum powder between the legs is not recommended.

Sunlight Exposure

Vitamin D metabolite receptors are found on endocrine and reproductive organs and are known to play a role in inhibiting a number of cancer cell lines.  The incidence of ovarian cancer varies with latitude, with higher rates in northern parts of the world.  In this study, the quantity of sunlight was strongly inversely correlated with the incidence of death due to ovarian cancer in 100 of the largest US cities (1979-88) after adjustments were made for air pollution levels.  Northern women in the 5th decade of life were found to have 5 times the mortality rate from ovarian cancer as southern women.  [Epidemiol 23 (6): pp.1133-36, 1994]

Habits

Aerobic Exercise

Researchers studied more than 2,100 women and found that those who exercised for more than 6 hours per week were 27% less likely to develop ovarian cancer than women who exercised less than 1 hour each week.  High activity levels were found to protect women of all ages.  [Obstetrics and Gynecology 96: pp.609-14, October 2000]

Mineral

Selenium

20,305 American women were followed prospectively for 20 years.  Initial serum selenium levels were inversely related to the risk of ovarian cancer.  [J Natl Cancer Inst 88(1): pp.32-7, 1996]

Report by The Analyst™
Click to see sample report
Health problems rarely occur in isolation or for obvious reasons

Your body is a highly complex, interconnected system.  Instead of guessing at what might be wrong, let us help you discover what is really going on inside your body based on the many clues it is giving.

Our multiple symptom checker provides in-depth health analysis by The Analyst™ with full explanations, recommendations and (optionally) doctors available for case review and answering your specific questions.

KEY

Weak or unproven link: may be a sign or symptom of; may suggest; may increase risk of
Weak or unproven link:
may be a sign or symptom of; may suggest; may increase risk of
Strong or generally accepted link: often increases risk of; often suggests; often leads to
Strong or generally accepted link:
often increases risk of; often suggests; often leads to
Definite or direct link: strongly suggests
Definite or direct link:
strongly suggests
Definitely or absolutely counter-indicates: decreases risk of
Definitely or absolutely counter-indicates:
decreases risk of
May be useful: may help with; may help prevent
May be useful:
may help with; may help prevent
Moderately useful: often helps with; often prevents
Moderately useful:
often helps with; often prevents
Very useful: is highly recommended for
Very useful:
is highly recommended for