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Reproductive System Disorder
Transcript of Reproductive System Disorder
Disorders affecting the female reproductive organs are common, but many of them can be treated easily.
Disorders affecting menstruation, the menopause, or sexual development are covered in other sections (see Menstrual, menopausal, and hormonal problems), as are sexual disorders of both sexes (see Sexually transmitted infections, Infertility, and Sexual problems).
Cancer of the Ovary
A cancerous tumor that can develop in one or both ovaries
Most common between the ages of 50 and 70; rare under the age of 40
Sometimes runs in families
Not having had children is a risk factor
Cancer of the ovary is the fifth most common type of cancer in women and causes about 4,300 deaths each year in the UK, more than any other cancer of the female reproductive tract. This high death rate is usually explained by the fact that symptoms do not develop until late in the progress of the disease, which delays the diagnosis and treatment.
The cause of cancer of the ovary is not known, but the tumor sometimes develops from an ovarian cyst. There seem to be hormonal and genetic risk factors for developing the disease. Women who have never had children or have had a late menopause are more likely to develop cancer of the ovary. Women with a close relative who developed ovarian cancer before the age of 50 are also at greater risk.
About 20 to 25 percent of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer have a hereditary tendency to develop the disease. The most significant risk factor for ovarian cancer is an inherited genetic mutation in one of two genes: breast cancer gene 1 (BRCA1) or breast cancer gene 2 (BRCA2). Alterations for ovarian cancer are transmitted through mitosis from one cell to another, but are not transmitted from parents to children.
The outlook for women with cancer of the ovary depends on how advanced the condition is at the time of diagnosis. A complete recovery is possible only if the condition is diagnosed and treated while in the early stages. However, the disease has spread in up to 3 in 4 women by the time of diagnosis. In these women, chemotherapy can prevent further spread of the cancer, sometimes for years, but it can rarely eliminate the cancer completely.
Reproductive System Disorder
The female reproductive organs are the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix, vagina, and vulva. Since the combined primary function of these organs is reproduction, disorders affecting them can result in infertility and should be treated as soon as possible, particularly if children are planned. Such disorders may be caused by infections, physical damage, or hormonal imbalances.
The first two articles in this section discuss pelvic inflammatory disease and endometriosis, disorders that may affect more than one female reproductive organ. The next articles discuss disorders of the ovaries, uterus, and cervix. Disorders affecting the vagina and vulva are covered last.
Signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer
Ovarian cancer may cause several signs and symptoms. Women are more likely to have symptoms if the disease has spread beyond the ovaries, but even early- stage ovarian cancer can cause them. The most common symptoms include:
Pelvic or abdominal pain
Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
Urinary symptoms such as urgency (always feeling like you have to go)
When they are caused by ovarian cancer, they tend to be persistent and represent a change from normal − for example, they occur more often or are more severe. If a woman has these symptoms more than 12 times a month, she should see her doctor, preferably a gynecologist.
Others symptoms of ovarian cancer can include:
Pain during sex
Abdominal swelling with weight loss
However, these symptoms are more likely to be caused by other conditions, and most of them occur just about as often in women who don’t have ovarian cancer.
Can ovarian cancer be found early?
About 20% of ovarian cancers are found at an early stage. When ovarian cancer is found early at a localized stage, about 94% of patients live longer than 5 years after diagnosis. Several large studies are in progress to learn the best ways to find ovarian cancer in its earliest stage.