Uncontrolled cell growth that starts in the ovaries
Overies are two small organs of the female reproductive system. They produces eggs and secrete two female hormones—estrogen and progesterone–that regulate the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and support the development of female secondary sexual characteristics. Ovarian cancer can occur at any age, but is more frequent in women over 50.
Dr. Navneet Sharda provides this information as an educational source. It is not intended as a substitute for a consultation with a qualified healthcare provider.
Symptoms and signs of ovarian cancer
Ovarian cancer involves certain early signs that in many cases are misdiagnosed. One of these signs is digestive disorders like gas, indigestion, constipation or a discomforting fullness feeling after a light meal. Other signs of ovarian cancer include:
Other signs of ovarian cancer are the common symptoms like fatigue and a persistent lack of Energy, loss of appetite, and unexplained weight loss or gain.
If you develop signs of ovarian cancer, your dr. will suggest some test that might include blood Test and imaging test like ultrasound, CT scan and MRI.These tests can show if there is an abnormal growth in ovaries and surgery to remove the cancer.
Laparoscopy: It is used to determine whether the cancer is present or not, what organs are affected the Cancer stage and to collect a tissue sample or remove an ovary for a more complex examination if needed. Biopsy: This procedure is used to determine if the abnormal tissue mass is cancerous or benign. A tissue sample is removed from the abnormal tissue mass and examined under a microscope. Colonoscopy: This procedure is performed after all the body’s fecal matter is removed from the large intestine
OVARIAN CANCER STAGING Once ovarian cancer is diagnosed, the next step is to determine its stage. Staging is a system used to describe the aggressiveness and spread of a cancer.
There are 4 stages of ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer stages range from stage I, the earliest stage, to stage IV, which means that the cancer has spread to distant organs. In general, lower stage cancers are less aggressive and require less treatment than do higher stage cancers.
OVARIAN CANCER TREATMENT
A specific treatment plan for ovarian cancer is determined by several factors such as tumor location, stage, and the patient’s age. It involves a combination of two or more treatment options, surgery, and chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Surgery depends on the stage of the cancer and the age of the patient. There are several type of surgeries available to treat ovarian cancer:
Hysterectomy: Is a procedure used to completely remove the uterus.
Bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy: A surgical procedure where the ovaries and fallopian tubes are completely removed. In some cases only the affected ovary is removed.
Cytoreduction or debulking: This is a complex surgical procedure performed for those patients for whom the cancer has spread into the abdominal cavity.
Chemotherapy: in most cases, a surgical procedure is followed by a medication treatment plan called chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is a common cancer treatment option and involves an intravenous or oral administration of a series of cancer-killing drugs.
Chemotherapy has several side effects that depend on the type of drug administered, dosage, and length of treatment. The most frequent side effect of chemotherapy are: nausea, vomiting, fatigue, loss of appetite, loss ofenergy, mouth soreness, loss of hair, as well as hand and foot rashes.
Chemotherapy can also cause permanent side effects such as menopause and infertility.
Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high focused x-rays to destroy cancer cells. There are several forms of radiation therapy
External beam radiation therapy: In this therapy an external beam is concentrated on the tumor area and breaks it up into smaller pieces. Sessions last a few minutes and are administered every day for several weeks.
This procedure is similar to an x-ray. It has some side effects but will fade in time after the treatment is stopped.
Internal radiation or branchytherapy: This is not a common form of radiation therapy used for the treatment of ovarian cancer, and involves the implantation of a radioactive device into an area adjacent to the tumor.
Radioactive phosphorus: Radioactive phosphorus is a substance which is inserted directly into the abdomen. The disadvantage of this treatment option is possible scars on the intestine and digestive Problems like bowel blockage.