About the disease
Choriocarcinoma is a type of cancer that only affects females, as it develops in the uterus. It is considered to be fast-growing and develops in the tissue that becomes the placenta when a woman becomes pregnant. The placenta is the lining of the womb. Its main function is to allow nutrients and oxygen to be supplied to the fetus from the mother.
Since it develops during pregnancy, choriocarcinoma is known as a gestational disease. In most cases, choriocarcinoma is caused by a hydatidiform mole, which is a growth that can start to develop in the beginning stages of pregnancy. The abnormal tissue from which the hydatidiform mole forms can become malignant and is likely to cause a miscarriage.
Complications at this stage can cause what is known as molar pregnancy, where the tissue that would normally become a fetus becomes an abnormal growth instead. Molar pregnancy is more common in women over 40 or who have other uterine problems.
- Vaginal bleeding
- Pain in the uterus
- Irregular cramps
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Abnormal development during pregnancy
- Pregnancy tests always comes up positive, even if the woman is not pregnant.
- During a general examination, the gynecologist will examine the uterus and the womb to look for any strange masses or swellings.
- CT and MRI scans produce images that help the doctor to determine how large the choriocarcinoma is, what stage it is at and whether or not it has affected the nearby tissue.
- Surgery is performed to completely resect the choriocarcinoma. Surgeons try to perform a full excision to prevent cancer from spreading.
- Chemotherapy kills malignant cells to prevent them from spreading. Several courses of chemotherapy may be required to be fully effective.