HIM110X Pathophysiology with Pharmacology I
March 3, 2014
Ovarian cancer is a growth of abnormal malignant cells that begins in the ovaries (women’s reproductive glands that produce ova). Cancer that spreads to the ovaries but originates at another site is not considered ovarian cancer. Ovarian tumors can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Although abnormal, cells of benign tumors do not metastasize (spread to other parts of the body). Malignant cancer cells in the ovaries can metastasize in two ways: directly to other organs in the pelvis and abdomen (the more common way), through the ...view middle of the document...
Women who have been pregnant have a fifty percent decreased risk for developing ovarian cancer compared with nulliparous women. Multiple pregnancies offer an increasingly protective effect. Oral contraceptive use decreases the risk of ovarian cancer. These factors support the idea that risk for ovarian cancer is related to ovulation.
Genetic factors as in family history plays an important role in the risk of developing ovarian cancer. The lifetime risk for developing ovarian cancer is 1.6 percent in the general population. At least two syndromes of hereditary ovarian cancer are clearly identified, involving either disorders of the genes associated with breast cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2 or more rarely genes within the Lynch II syndrome complex. Ovarian/Breast cancer syndrome is associated with early onset of breast or ovarian cancer. Inheritance follows an autosomal dominant transmission. It can be inherited from either parent. Women with a history of breast cancer have an increased risk of epithelial ovarian cancer.
Ovarian Cancer Pathophysiology
Most theories of the pathophysiology of ovarian cancer include the concept that it begins with the differentiation of the cells overlying the ovary. During ovulation, these cells can be incorporated into the ovary, where they then proliferate. Ovarian cancer typically spreads to the peritoneal surfaces and omentum. Ovarian carcinoma can spread by local extension, lymphatic invasion, intraperitoneal implantation, hematogenous dissemination, and transdiaphragmatic passage. Intraperitoneal dissemination is the most common and recognized characteristic of ovarian cancer. Malignant cells can implant anywhere in the peritoneal cavity but are more likely to implant in sites of stasis along the peritoneal fluid circulation.
Clinical Manifestations. Early ovarian cancer causes minimal, nonspecific, or no symptoms. The patient may feel an abdominal mass. Most cases are diagnosed in an advanced stage. Epithelial ovarian cancer presents with a wide variety of vague and nonspecific symptoms, including bloating, pressure effects on the bladder and rectum, constipation, vaginal bleeding, indigestion and acid reflux, shortness of breath, tiredness, weight loss and early satiety. The later stage of ovarian cancer shows symptoms such as nausea and vomiting,...