Myths About Ovarian Cancer: Cysts Usually Develop Into Cancer

Myths About Ovarian Cancer: Cysts Usually Develop Into Cancer

Because of lack of awareness about ovarian cancer and myths surrounding it, many women with this cancer remain undiagnosed, leading to the progression of the disease.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori |Updated : October 8, 2021 8:31 PM IST

Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that begins in ovaries the part of the female reproductive system that produces eggs. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, leading to more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. Mostly, this cancer is diagnosed in older women. As per ACS estimates, about half of the ovarian cancer patients are 63 years or older. Cases of ovarian cancer are rising around the globe, and the incidence of ovarian carcer is estimated to increase to 371,000 a year by 2035, and the death rate to 254,000. Because of lack of awareness and myths about it, many women remain undiagnosed, leading to the progression of the disease and death.

Here, we have tried to clear all your doubts and bust the myths regarding this cancer with the help of Dr Pratima Thamke, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Kharghar, who agreed to shares her insights on the topic.

Understand the causes and symptoms of ovarian cancer

The ovaries are small glands, each about the size and shape of an almond, which are located on either side of the uterus. They are an important part of the female reproductive system responsible for producing eggs and female hormones. Ovarian cancer develops due to abnormal growth occurs in the ovary. Abnormal growth of cells can lead to the formation of a tumour, which can either be cancerous (malignant) or not cancerous (benign). The malignant cells can further spread into pelvic organs and other parts of the body like the abdomen and lungs.

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The exact cause of ovarian cancer is not yet known, but certain factors can increase your risk of ovarian cancer. These include: age, a family history of ovarian cancer, never been pregnant or late pregnancy, history of breast, uterine or colorectal cancer, intake of certain drugs or androgens, etc.

At the early stage of ovarian cancer, there would be no symptoms or mild symptoms, which can make early detection difficult. Common symptoms experienced by women with ovarian cancer are heavy feeling in the pelvis, pain in the lower abdomen, bleeding from the vagina, weight gain or loss, abnormal periods, and unexplained back pain that gets worse.

Early detection of this disease gives better chances for its recovery. But ovarian cancer is hard to detect at an early stage, as either it has no symptoms or mild symptoms until the disease reaches its advanced stage. This leads to fewer chances for the recovery of ovarian cancer. It's a need of an hour to clear myths and doubts regarding this cancer.

Myths About Ovarian Cancer

Dr Thamke has highlighted some of the common myths about ovarian cancer and the truth.

Myth #1: Ovarian cancer is similar to fibroids or cysts

Fact: There is a misconception among people that there is a connection between ovarian cancer and fibroids. However, fibroids do not have any association with ovarian cancer, and most of the fibroids or ovarian cysts are not cancerous and may not become malignant. But some ovarian cysts could lead to cancer, and hence, require regular monitoring under the doctor's guidelines.

Myth #2: It is not possible to survive ovarian cancer

Fact: The diagnosis of ovarian cancer doesn't always lead to death. The proper treatment increases the chances of your survival, followed by chemotherapy that can help to improve survival and prevent recurrences, especially within the patients who have the last stage of ovarian cancer.

Myth #3: Ovarian cysts always turn into cancer

Fact: Various studies have revealed that most ovarian cysts are not harmful and may not turn cancerous. Rarely, ovarian cysts develop into ovarian cancer.

Myth#4: I don't have a family history of ovarian cancer, so I will never get it

Fact: Not every woman who is diagnosed with ovarian cancer is at the risk of it. There are other causes of ovarian cancer like age, smoking, and late pregnancy.

Myth #5: Using talcum powder causes ovarian cancer

Fact: There is no clear evidence regarding talcum powder causing this cancer.

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