Teenage Ovarian Cancer

by Erin Schreiner

Few parents ever entertain the notion that their teen will have to deal with cancer before reaching adulthood; however, in some cases they unfortunately do. Teenage girls can and do develop ovarian cancer each year. If caught early, cancer of this type is highly treatable, making it vital that you watch for signs of ovarian cancer and respond to any potential symptoms that you observe immediately.

Common Age Range

Ovarian cancer is most commonly diagnosed in patients in their mid-20s, reports the Ovarian Cancer Institute. However, it can be diagnosed in patients much younger or older than this. Because all women are susceptible to ovarian cancer, regardless of age, they should constantly by aware of, and watchful for, the signs of this potentially serious medical condition.

Risk Factors

Although anyone can develop ovarian cancer, the presence of some risk factors may increase your likelihood of suffering from this cancer. Like many cancers, ovarian cancer is sometimes hereditary. Johns Hopkins Pathology reports that, while 90 percent of all ovarian cancer occurs spontaneously -- not as the result of hereditary influence -- 10 percent of all individuals who develop ovarian cancer do so as the result of an inherited gene. This means that teens who have ovarian cancer in their family should be particularly attentive to the development of ovarian cancer signs. Individuals with numerous family members who have suffered the effects of ovarian cancer can be screened for the presence of these genes if they wish. Obesity also increases your of developing this cancer, reports Cancer.org. Teens who have a BMI of over 30 are more likely to experience this cancer than those whose BMI is below this threshold. Similarly, healthy diet has also been shown to reduce the risks of developing ovarian cancer, states Cancer.org.

Signs

Common ovarian cancer signs include abdominal swelling, increased urinary frequency, period irregularity or difficulty eating. Because many of these symptoms are also signs of other conditions, teens with these symptoms should not jump to conclusions, but instead share their concerns with their doctor.

Talking to Your Doctor

If you experience one of these symptoms only once, and it clears up on its own, you may have nothing about which to be concerned. WebMD recommends that you speak to your doctor about your concerns if you experience one or more of these symptoms on a daily, or almost daily, basis for at least two weeks.

Treatment Options

Fortunately, if caught early, ovarian cancer is highly treatable. Treatment of ovarian cancer in teens usually consists of several elements. Often, the teen will undergo surgery to remove the present tumors as well as the impacted ovary. This surgery is often paired with chemotherapy or radiation in an attempt to eradicate any missed tumors and prevent the further spread of the cancer.

About the Author

Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.