Ovarian cancer is a serious threat to women’s health, resulting in approximately 21,650 new cancer diagnoses each year in the United States. 1 in 67 women will develop this disease at some point during their lives, yet ovarian cancer is just starting to receive the mass media exposure and cultural attention that it deserves.
Breakthroughs in ovarian cancer research are being made in the following arenas:
Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors
Researchers are studying the genetic characteristics of ovarian cancer. This includes identifying the genes responsible for familial ovarian cancer, as well as developing technologies that might allow these mutated genes to behave normally.
The quest to understand ovarian cancer’s genetic risk factors has already led to better early-detection techniques. One day, this research may lead to preventative ovarian cancer treatments.
Ovarian Cancer Prevention
Research has uncovered links between ovarian cancer and certain lifestyle choices. These lifestyle choices may include:
- Having Sex With Multiple Partners: Women who have sex with multiple partners, particularly unprotected sex, are more likely to contract bacterium that leads to cancerous cell mutations.
- Diet and Exercise: People who live sedentary (inactive) lives, and/or people whose diet lacks proper amounts of fruits and vegetables have been linked to ovarian cancer development.
- Estrogen Stimulating Medications and Therapies: Certain medications and hormonal therapies may stimulate estrogen production in the ovaries. The overproduction of estrogen has been shown to cause ovarian cancer.
Ovarian Cancer Treatment
Currently, most slow-growing cancers do not respond to chemotherapeutic drugs. Chemo primarily targets cells that divide quickly. Research is ongoing to develop chemo drugs that will differentiate and treat slow-growing ovarian malignancies.
Researchers are developing vaccinations that will promote tumor recognition in the immune system. This means that your immune system will identify a tumor in the body with a degree of specificity that it is unable to accomplish naturally. Once the tumorous growth is identified, your immune system will stimulate various natural anti-tumor processes within the body.
BLOOD VESSEL INHIBITORS
Cancer cells typically divide at a much faster rate than normal, healthy cells. Like a fast-growing child, cancer cells need a constant supply of nutrients. This stimulates the development of new blood vessels, through which nutrients are delivered to the cancerous growth. Medications are being developed that will prevent the development of blood vessels around malignant structures.
When you have an infection, a doctor will typically prescribe antibiotics. Today, antibodies are being developed to target malignancies. Research in this arena might one day lead to a simple antibiotic pill that can rid the body of cancer.
More Ovarian Cancer Information
To learn more about the individuals and organizations responsible for many ovarian cancer research breakthroughs, explore these wonderful sources: