Ovarian cancer is described as a medical condition when abnormal cells develop in the ovary. This may tend to spread or invade in other parts of the body. Ovarian cancer symptoms are not always distinct, but the signs are noticeable when the cancer advances. The symptoms generally include abdominal swelling, bloating, loss of appetite, pelvic pain, etc.
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Ovarian cancer is the abnormal growth of cells in the ovary. The most common type of ovarian cancer rises from the outer lining (called epithelium) of the ovary. The initial stage of ovarian cancer is undetectable since the symptoms are mostly vague or almost none.
As the cancer progresses, certain symptoms of ovarian cancer start to show up such as abdominal swelling, bleeding of the vagina, pain in the lower abdomen, feeling of heaviness in the pelvic, bloating, loss of appetite, abnormal periods, nausea and vomiting, gas, etc. By the time the cancer is diagnosed, it spreads to other parts like the lungs, liver, lymph nodes, lining of the bladder and bowel and lining of the abdomen.
Doctors associated with the treatment of ovarian cancer are gynaecologic oncologists, expertise and specialists in the management of this type of cancer. Diagnoses of ovarian cancer are done with a pelvic exam, a thorough physical examination, biopsy, ultrasound and laboratory tests.
There are specific risk factors of ovarian cancer when:
Since early signs of ovarian cancer are generally vague, it is often diagnosed at a very advanced stage when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Due to this, ovarian cancer has a relatively lower prognosis. The cancer often metastasizes before it is even diagnosed. During its growth, the cancer sheds cells within the abdominal cavity that get implanted eventually into other abdominal structures, including the bowel, omentum, lining of the bowel wall, urinary bladder and uterus.
The recurrence rate of ovarian cancer is high that happens mostly in the abdomen. Recurrences can, however, be treated with effective results. The common treatments for ovarian cancer include surgery, radio therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, etc.
This is how you can prepare before ovarian cancer treatment by taking a few steady, conscious and simple steps:
Chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, targeted therapy and hormone therapy are the treatment options for ovarian cancer. The doctor may perform any one treatment plan or he may use a combination of treatments for ovarian cancer.
How it is done: Often, a surgery is the first treatment that a patient undergoes. If it is in an advanced stage, the patient requires an elaborate operation that includes removal of the uterus, the fallopian tubes, the ovaries, the omentum, and the surrounding lymph nodes.
After she is administered a sedation or general anaesthesia, an incision is done in her abdomen. The doctor then performs the operation by removing the cancerous parts. He closes the incisions and wipes the area with antiseptics. If the cancer is confined to just one ovary, that specific ovary with the fallopian tubes is removed. In that case, the patient has a higher chance of conceiving in future.
How it done: The patient has to visit the hospital for getting chemotherapies. The procedure generally involves 3-6 chemo sessions during which certain drug medications are given to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapies are either given orally in the form of medications or injected by creating an intravenous channel in the arm to reach the bloodstream. Doctors perform those 3-6 sessions of chemotherapy in over 3-4 weeks apart. It is to help the patient recover from the previous chemo before undergoing the next chemo.
How it is done: Targeted therapy uses newer medications for treating cancer cells without damaging the normal cells in the adjacent areas.
How it is done: Hormone therapy is done in combination with other therapies that uses drugs given to patients in order to prevent estrogen from plaguing cancer cells, thus slowing its growth.
If you had a surgery for ovarian cancer, it will take some time to recover physically and mentally. It almost takes the first couple of weeks for you to feel at ease post the surgery. In more than a month, you start feeling normal again to participate in light acitivities. However, you will probably get tired soon, so take ample rest at the same time.
The recovery of Ovarian cancer treatment is time consuming, especially if it involves your emotional state. Most women feel a sense of loss after losing the womb to the surgery. Periodical blood tests and general physical examinations will give a heads up about your condition to your physician. If required, you may have to undergo further chemotherapy treatments or other types of therapies. After you finish your treatment, you may have to see your cancer doctor for many years to come.