Ovias cancer: what are the exams to diagnose it?
In Italy, about 1 are diagnosed every day.000 new cases of malignant tumor. 1 Tumors are pathologies that affect men and women indiscriminately and in every age group. The ovar tumor It is among the top five causes of oncological death in women up to 69 years 1 . Also called “Dumbledore killer” because it is difficult to diagnose early due to poorly evident symptoms, it is one of the most frequent tumors in the female population.
The ovaries are the gonads, or sexual, female organs. They are two, they have the shape of a almond and a size that varies between 2 and 4 cm depending on the phase of the cycle and age 2 . Ovias perform the function of producing egg cells (oocyte), and also secrete female sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone) 2 .
Ovar cancer, how it is formed
The ovary is composed of a central region, called medullary, and a more external, or cortical. In the cortex there are the orofori follicles, or the units that deal with the production of female sex hormones 3 . They are surrounded by a connective stroma rich in cells, responsible for the morphological modifications of the follicles during the ovarian cycle. The medullary area consists of connective tissue containing elastic fibers and smooth muscle fibers 3 .
Ovar cancer originates when the cells that make up the ovary itself, they begin to divert in an uncontrolled way. Ovary tumors can originate from the stroma (stromal tumors), while germinal tumors originated from the cells used for the production of eggs. Finally, there are epithelial tumors that originate from the epithelium present in the organ and represent most of the cases, or 90% 4 .These types of cancer have a different incidence according to the age of the woman.
Among the main ones risk factors which can lead to the onset of ovar cancer, there are mutations on the BRCA genes. These alterations are responsible for an increase in the risk of the onset of breast and ovary cancer. Women with changed BRCA and an age of over 70 years have a 20-60% risk that the ovar cancer arises.
There Diagnosis of ovar cancer It is carried out during a gynecological examination, with the pelvic examination and the palpation of the abdomen where the specialist evaluates the size of the ovary based on the menstrual cycle phase and the patient age. The gynecologist usually also performs a transdominal or transvaginal ultrasound. A very useful test is the dosage of CA 125 in the blood, a marker whose values can however be high in case of presence of a gynecological tumor or not.
The dosage of CA 125 combined with transvaginal ultrasound can help in the diagnosis of ovious cancer. 4
In addition to ultrasound, an abdomen can be carried out, an opaque enema with barium or a magnetic resonance examination. These exams reveal a more complete picture and in the case of cancer they also help to highlight the possible presence of metastases 4 .
Therefore, one early diagnosis The transvaginal ultrasound, the determination of the levels of CA 125 and the pelvic examination is carried out by combining. In case of early diagnosis, the therapeutic strategy will immediately decide to combat and keep the tumor under control.
Given the danger of ovary cancer, it is advisable to periodically go to the gynecologist to carry out checks. Furthermore, knowing your genetic predisposition to the development of this dangerous tumor is essential to be able to act promptly with a targeted treatment. Genetic screening tests such as the BRCA Source Test they allow to detect, with a simple blood sample, any mutations on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.
To know your genetic predisposition or to carry out targeted exams, it is advisable to consult your gynecologist and a medical geneticist.