Cancer is a disease in which the mechanisms in the body to ensure that new cells appear at the same rate that old cells die have broken down. Cells continue to divide without control leading to an over population of cells in one part of the body. This is what causes the growth that is the tumour. A tumour can be benign or malignant. Benign is when the tumour does not spread into the surrounding normal tissue and a malignant tumour (cancer) is where the tumour invades into the surrounding normal tissue and can spread to other parts of the body.
Ovarian cancer is a disease in which malignant or cancerous cells are found in the ovaries. An ovary is one of two small, almond-shaped organs located on each side of the uterus that store eggs or germ cells and produce female hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Ovarian Cancer in Ireland
Ovarian cancer is the 4th most common female cancer in Ireland and the main cause of death from gynaecological cancer. Approximately 350 women are diagnosed each year in Ireland; 80% are over 50 years of age*. Most have advanced disease at presentation. The ovaries are tucked deep in the pelvis which is why this cancer can be difficult to diagnose. Symptoms can be similar to other conditions, which can delay diagnosis.
(*Data Source: National Cancer Registry, Ireland)