Ovarian Cancer in Young Women: Causes and Early Symptoms

The ovarian cancer It is not one of the most common among women. The incidence of cancer of ovary is about 5 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. It represents between 4 and 5% of female tumors. And although he is fourth most common type of cancer among gynecological tumors (after breast, endometrium and cervix), it continues to be the most frequent cause of death from gynecological cancer in Spain; Most cases are diagnosed between 45 and 75 years, Although its prevalence is also increasing in younger women, as we have recently seen in the case of Sara Carbonero. The problem with this type of cancer in women is that their Symptoms are vague and difficult to detect.

However, this should not go unnoticed. The lack of effective early detection methods and clear early symptoms make it a cancer with high mortality. There are more than 30 different types of ovarian tumors, classified by cell type. Some are benign (not cancer) and do not spread beyond the ovary. The malignant tumors (cancerous) it is common for them to spread to other parts of the body.

Studies have shown that the prognosis and survival they largely depend on the amount of residual tumor at the time of the first surgery. Patients without residual tumors or nodules of mless than 1 cm in diameter had the highest chance of cure. and long-term survival. In this regard, it should also be noted that experts point out that there are some more aggressive types that have risk of relapse at two to three years so research beyond conventional treatments is a priority for researchers.


Although the exact causes of its development are also unknown, there are several theories about the triggers that may be involved. Among them, the researchers shuffle the following risk factors:

  • Age: Like most diseases or other types of cancer, the risk increases with age. As we have mentioned, ovarian cancer is rare in women under the age of 40, and most ovarian cancers occur after menopause.
  • Hereditary factors: About 20 percent of ovarian cancer is hereditary, and in most cases it is due to mutations in the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes. It is important to note that not all women with BRCA mutations will develop ovarian cancer. or mom. In fact, 40% of women with ovarian cancer and BRCA mutations have no family history. exist other syndromes that increase risk ovarian cancer, including:

-The PTEN neoplastic angiopathy syndromecaused by mutations in the PTEN gene;

-hereditary colorectal cancer Non-polyposis or Lynch syndrome: Women with changes in genes such as MLH1, MLH3, MSH2, MSH6, TGFBR2, PMS1, and PMS2 have a 10% increased risk of colon and endometrial cancer

-Peutz-Jeghers syndrome. It is very rare and is associated, in addition to ovarian cancer, with an increased risk of suffering from tumors of the digestive system -Li-Fraumeni syndrome or with ataxia-telangiectasia may also have a slightly increased risk of developing ovarian cancer

  • Hormonal treatments: Oral contraceptives (OCs) prevent disease (estimated to reduce incidence by up to 50% in women using oral contraceptives for 5 years or more), hormone replacement therapy (HRT) used during menopause appears to increase risk .
  • Overweight and obesity: Although their relationship is not clear, studies link a higher body mass index with increased risk of ovarian cancer. Perhaps this is related to another cause, poor nutrition. The findings on obesity and ovarian cancer were not clear, but evidence from previous studies suggests that obesity predicts a worse outcome in patients with ovarian cancer.
  • Absence of pregnancy: This seems to be related to the number of ovulations that occur during a woman’s lifetime. With each ovulation, when the egg leaves the ovary, a small scar forms that needs to be repaired and promotes cell change. Women who have multiple births have less scarring because ovulation does not occur during pregnancy.
  • Bad nutrition. Poor diet is related to the development of multiple types of cancer. Poor diet causes excess fat and this will cause additional estrogen, this factor is to blame for increasing the risk of breast cancer, uterus and ovarian cancer.

early symptoms

Despite the fact that early symptoms ovarian cancer can be confused with other more common conditions or even not be noticeable, periodic check-ups and paying attention to some symptoms can be useful for a dearly detection that prevents the cancer from progressing to late or advanced stages.

Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Abdominal distension (swollen abdomen)
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Difficulty swallowing food or a quick feeling of fullness when eating
  • Urinary symptoms, such as urgency (a constant feeling of having to urinate) or frequency (having to urinate often)
  • Alteration of gastrointestinal processes

It should be noted that when these symptoms are caused by ovarian cancer, they tend to be persistent and prolonged in time. ANDThis usually represents changes that already represent changes out of the ordinary on a day-to-day basis.