Ovarian cancer is one the five main types of cancers that affect a woman’s reproductive organs. The others are cervical, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar cancers.
Unfortunately, there is no sure way to know if a woman will get ovarian cancer. Most women get it without being at high risk. That said, there are certain factors that could increase a woman’s likelihood of getting ovarian cancer, including:
- Age – middle-aged and older women are at greater risk
- Family – reports suggest that about 10 percent of ovarian cancer cases are hereditary, if close family members, on either the mother’s or father’s side have had the condition
- Personal history of cancer – if the individual has had other types of cancer, like uterine, colorectal, or breast cancer
- Ethnicity – people with an Eastern European – Jewish background are at greater risk
- Successful conception and birth – women who have never given birth, or have had trouble getting pregnant are at greater risk of ovarian cancer
- Endometriosis – a condition where tissue from the uterus lining grows elsewhere in the body can increase the risk
Women showing one or more of these factors are not necessarily destined to get ovarian cancer, though they should discuss with their doctor about the risk. Usually, women who have given birth, or have used birth control pills for over five years are less likely to get ovarian cancer. But if the risk is imminent, the doctor can recommend a few measures to lower your chances of getting ovarian cancer, including tubal litigation (getting the tubes tied), ovary removal, or hysterectomy (an operation to remove the uterus and cervix).
How effective is tubal ligation?
Research suggests that some of the cells responsible for ovarian cancer originate from the fallopian tubes. Other researches claim that ovarian cancer starts from the tissue covering the outside of the ovary, in the ovary’s hormone-producing cells, or in the egg-producing cells within an ovary. When having your tubes tied, or undergoing a tubal ligation procedure, the fallopian tubes are blocked permanently or cut, preventing the ova from traveling from the ovaries to the uterus.
While this process has no direct impact on fimbria – where cancerous cells originate from on the surface of the ovary – research has consistently shown that tying the fallopian tubes significantly reduces the woman’s risk of ovarian cancer: perhaps because the ovaries are no longer exposed or connected to the external environment, or because the fallopian tubes undergo some sort of anatomical changes after a tubal ligation.
It is important that you see your doctor or health care professional if you notice any signs of ovarian cancer continuously for two weeks. Symptoms to watch for include: pain in the abdominal or pelvic area, back pain, upset stomach or heartburn and bloating, unusual vaginal discharge, and being tired all the time.