Study highlights new clues about link between ovarian cancer and ovulation

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Women who ovulate longer throughout their lives have a higher risk of developing Ovary cancer . Which suggests that suppressing ovulation may lower this risk.

A new international study offers new clues about how oral contraceptives, pregnancy and breastfeeding affect ovarian cancer risk beyond simply suppressing ovulation, and how this association may vary across different subtypes of ovarian cancer.

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The findings were published this week in Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

“Ovarian cancer is a highly fatal group of diseases with limited treatment options, so understanding its origins and the factors that contribute to its development are critical steps in devising prevention approaches and improving women’s health,” said the author. study senior Francesmary Modugno.

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“Studies like this one, in which researchers from all over the world come together and share their data, are essential to achieve these goals”, adds the professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the Magee-Womens Research Institute and UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, in the US. U.S.

Study highlights

Analysis of 21,267 women with ovarian cancer and 26,204 healthy controls from 25 studies showed that factors that reduce the duration of ovulation – i.e. oral contraceptives, pregnancy and breastfeeding – were associated with reduced risk of cancer and this effect protective was stronger than expected based on ovulation suppression alone.

The finding suggests that these factors contribute to cancer risk in other ways, such as through changing hormones or inflammation.

The researchers also identified important distinctions between the different subtypes of ovarian cancer. For example, mucinous tumors, a rare type of ovarian cancer, have been associated with factors that suppress ovulation but not ovulation duration itself, another indication that oral contraceptives, pregnancy and breastfeeding affect cancer risk beyond suppression of ovulation. ovulation.

In contrast, for high-grade serous ovarian cancer, the most common and deadly subtype, the combination of oral contraceptives, pregnancy, and breastfeeding were expected, indicating that these factors contribute to the risk of serous ovarian cancer through suppression of ovulation.

“These findings emphasize that ovarian cancer subtypes are different diseases with different causes,” said Francesmary. “This is important as it will hopefully encourage scientists to look for new hypotheses about how these diseases arise and shed new light on how we can prevent them. Right now, treatment options are limited, so preventing ovarian cancer is the best hope we have for saving lives.”

ovarian cancer risks

Ovarian cancer is a silent disease, which has no specific symptoms in its early stages. Due to the absence of an effective screening method in asymptomatic women, 8 out of 10 cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage, when the cancer has already spread from the ovary to other organs in the pelvic and abdominal region, which reduces the chances of recovery.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer appear when the disease is already in an advanced stage. In addition, because they are not specific, they can be confused with other clinical conditions.

Therefore, doctors recommend looking for a gynecologist immediately if they notice problems such as pain and increased abdominal volume, urinary urgency (caused by bladder compression), weight loss, abnormal bleeding, difficulty evacuating and digestive changes.

In about 80% of cases, the appearance of ovarian cancer is directly influenced by hormones. The highest incidence is among women over 60 years. In addition to age, the main risk factors include infertility, early onset of menstruation, late menopause, never having had children (nulliparity), obesity and smoking.

Genetic factors also contribute to the increased likelihood of developing the disease. Mutations of hereditary origin, especially in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, are mainly linked to breast and ovarian cancer. Lynch Syndrome, on the other hand, increases the risk of tumors in the colon and rectum, which can influence the appearance of ovarian cancer.

Early diagnosis is essential for successful treatment. The survival rate in cases of cancer is measured in 5 years, that is, it indicates the percentage of patients who live at least 5 years after the diagnosis of the disease.

In the case of ovarian cancer, when discovered in the early stages, the survival rate reaches 90% of patients. In the more advanced stages, the index drops to less than 50%.

Source: CNN Brasil

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