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Ovarian Cancer and Breast Cancer: Understanding the Connection

Ovarian Cancer and Breast Cancer: Understanding the Connection

Some persons are extra prone to be recognized with each breast most cancers and ovarian most cancers. Ovarian cancer contains tumors that begin rising in the ovaries in addition to most cancers that develops in the fallopian tubes (the tubes that join the ovaries to the uterus) or the peritoneum (the interior lining of the stomach).

Some of the similar threat elements can result in each breast and ovarian cancers. Although sure threat elements can’t be managed, there are issues that an individual with breast most cancers can do to decrease the threat of ovarian most cancers.

What Causes Ovarian Cancer and Breast Cancer?

To perceive why completely different sorts of most cancers can develop inside the similar individual, it helps to study what causes most cancers. Cancer varieties when genes undergo changes and trigger a cell to start out behaving abnormally and develop uncontrolled.

Some of those gene adjustments are inherited (handed down from father or mother to youngster). Inherited gene mutations are current at start, and they are often present in each cell inside the physique. These forms of mutations can typically result in family cancer syndromes, wherein a number of individuals inside the similar household develop most cancers.

Acquired gene adjustments occur on account of environmental or life-style elements. These gene mutations happen throughout an individual’s lifetime and are discovered solely in some cells. Most most cancers is brought on by acquired gene adjustments and doesn’t run in households.

Inherited and acquired mutations could cause cells to start rising abnormally. Many of those gene adjustments can enhance an individual’s threat for growing a number of forms of most cancers.

Inherited Factors That Lead to Ovarian and Breast Cancer

Breast most cancers is usually linked to adjustments in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. These genes are usually accountable for therapeutic cells after they turn out to be broken. BRCA genes assist forestall cells from turning cancerous. However, when cells have mutated BRCA genes, harm can’t be simply fastened and cells might start rising uncontrolled, forming a tumor.

Changes in the BRCA genes result in a household most cancers syndrome known as hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome (HBOC). People with this situation usually tend to have a household historical past of breast most cancers or ovarian most cancers. They even have a excessive threat of being recognized with a number of cancers or being recognized with most cancers at a younger age. HBOC will increase the threat of a number of completely different most cancers sorts, together with pancreatic most cancers, prostate most cancers in males, and melanoma. However, BRCA gene mutations most frequently result in breast and ovarian cancers:

  • About 1.6 percent of ladies with out BRCA mutations develop ovarian most cancers in some unspecified time in the future of their lives.
  • The estimated threat of breast most cancers in ladies with a BRCA mutation is 45 p.c to 85 p.c by age 70 years.
  • Around 13 p.c of ladies with out BRCA mutations are recognized with breast most cancers over a lifetime.
  • BRCA1 mutations result in a 55 p.c to 72 p.c threat of breast most cancers. The lifetime threat for ladies with BRCA2 gene mutations is 45 p.c to 69 p.c.

HBOC is often brought on by BRCA mutations. However, different household most cancers syndromes that enhance the threat of ovarian and breast most cancers will also be brought on by inherited adjustments in different genes. Affected genes embrace TP53, PTEN, ATM, and CHEK2.

If your breast most cancers was brought on by inherited adjustments in BRCA1, BRCA2, or one other gene, you may additionally have an elevated threat of growing ovarian most cancers. However, in case you developed breast most cancers due to different elements, your threat of ovarian most cancers will not be raised. Genetic testing may also help you discover out you probably have an inherited gene mutation.

Environmental and Lifestyle Risk Factors

Acquired gene adjustments might develop after publicity to substances that harm DNA, like ultraviolet mild or radiation. Some environmental and life-style elements can increase the chances that genes mutate and change. These elements make individuals extra prone to be recognized with a number of forms of most cancers. Gene adjustments might also develop randomly as a cell grows and divides.

Factors that elevate the threat of ovarian cancer or breast cancer embrace:

  • Older age
  • Heavier physique weight
  • Never having had youngsters
  • Having your first youngster at a later age (older than 35 years previous for ovarian most cancers or older than 30 years previous for breast most cancers)
  • Using hormone substitute remedy (HRT) throughout or after menopause

If you’ve got any of those shared threat elements, you’re barely extra prone to develop ovarian most cancers and breast most cancers.

Lowering Risk of Ovarian Cancer

People with breast most cancers who’re involved about their ovarian most cancers threat ought to speak to their physician to study extra about potential subsequent steps. You might be able to change sure habits to be able to decrease your threat of growing ovarian most cancers in the future. Additionally, you might be a candidate for genetic testing to find out whether or not you’ve got any inherited gene adjustments.

Lowering Your Risk Using Lifestyle Changes

Ovarian most cancers is most frequently brought on by environmental and life-style elements. Some threat elements, akin to rising older, can’t be modified. You can have extra affect over different elements. Preventive methods to scale back ovarian most cancers threat embrace:

  • Eat a balanced weight-reduction plan
  • Get extra bodily exercise
  • Achieve and preserve a wholesome weight
  • Quit smoking
  • If you give start, strive breastfeeding
  • Don’t use HRT after going via menopause
  • Undergo a hysterectomy (surgical procedure to take away the uterus) or a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (surgical procedure to take away the ovaries and fallopian tubes)

People who take contraception drugs, additionally known as oral contraceptives, have a 50 percent lower risk of growing ovarian most cancers. This could also be a superb risk-reducing technique for ladies who’ve inherited BRCA gene mutations. However, contraception drugs can enhance the threat of growing breast most cancers, so medical doctors might not advocate this technique for ladies with a historical past of breast most cancers.

Genetic Testing and Ovarian Cancer

Just 3 percent of individuals with breast most cancers have inherited mutations in BRCA genes. This implies that most individuals recognized with breast most cancers don’t have a gene change that places them in danger for ovarian most cancers. However, you might be extra prone to have one in every of these inherited mutations in case you had been recognized with breast most cancers earlier than the age of fifty, developed breast most cancers in each breasts, or have a number of relations — together with male relations — who had been recognized with breast most cancers.

If your physician thinks you might have a genetic mutation that results in a better threat of most cancers, they could advocate genetic counseling and genetic testing. In this case, you’ll meet with a genetic counselor to speak about your most cancers threat, and you might endure checks that assist decide whether or not you’ve got sure gene adjustments. These checks are quite simple and contain both a blood or saliva take a look at. When one individual inside a household finds out they’ve an inherited gene change, different relations must be knowledgeable and might also need to be examined to find out their threat ranges.

Ovarian Cancer Screening

Mammograms are advisable as an everyday screening device to assist detect breast most cancers. However, present screening checks for ovarian most cancers aren’t as efficient.

Researchers have studied two attainable ovarian cancer screening tests. One take a look at measures ranges of CA-125 in the blood. Levels of this molecule are sometimes raised in individuals with ovarian most cancers. However, older age or different benign (noncancerous) situations might also result in excessive CA-125 ranges. Another attainable screening device is a transvaginal ultrasound, a take a look at that gives a picture of the organs inside the pelvis. An ultrasound can detect lots on the ovary, however these are often benign.

Studies have discovered that CA-125 and transvaginal ultrasound screenings don’t cut back ovarian most cancers demise charges. Additionally, they generally require ladies to endure pointless additional testing or surgical procedure. For this purpose, most consultants don’t advocate utilizing these checks to display screen for ovarian most cancers in the basic inhabitants. However, some medical doctors might use these checks to display screen for most cancers in ladies with inherited gene adjustments that would result in ovarian most cancers.

Knowing the Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

When ovarian most cancers is caught early, it results in higher outcomes. Looking out for ovarian cancer symptoms might assist you detect most cancers at a stage when it’s extra simply handled. Symptoms embrace:

  • Pain in the stomach, pelvis, or again
  • Abdominal bloating or swelling
  • Nausea
  • Feeling full after consuming solely a small quantity
  • Constipation
  • Tiredness
  • Changes in your menstrual interval
  • Changes in vaginal discharge
  • Needing to urinate typically
  • Pain throughout intercourse

These signs will also be brought on by different well being situations apart from most cancers. However, in case you discover any adjustments or in case you really feel completely different than regular, speak to your well being care supplier.

Talk With Others Who Understand

MyBCTeam is the social community for individuals with breast most cancers. On MyBCTeam, greater than 54,000 members come collectively to ask questions, give recommendation, and share their tales with others who perceive life with breast most cancers.

Are you residing with ovarian most cancers or breast most cancers? Share your experiences in the feedback beneath, or begin a dialog by posting in your Activities web page.

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