A diagnosis of ovarian cancer is not an invitation to give up on life. This type of cancer can be treated, and in this article we will present the best treatment options that are available in modern medicine. The first thing you need to know about ovarian cancer is that it affects the female reproductive organs, which are responsible for producing such hormones as estrogen and progesterone. Ovarian cancer is more common in women aged 60-70 years. 80% of cases happen after the menopause. In many cases, pathology1 manifests itself only as a cyst that grows slowly, and gradually transforms into a malignant tumor.
If the cancer has been found in the beginning stages of its development, the survival rate in women is very impressive - up to 94%. Second stage ovarian cancer has a survival rate of between 50 to 70% and third stage has indicators of 35%. Naturally, the sooner disease is diagnosed, the better the prognosis is in the long run.
Ovarian cancer symptoms in early stages are practically absent. It is only when the tumor has become quite large that the patient begins to feel discomfort.
The most common symptoms of ovarian cancer are as follows:
When cancer has metastasized, patients may experience bone pain and headaches. Other ovarian cancer signs are diarrhea and the strange feeling of a foreign body in the abdomen. This feeling may worsen after going to the toilet.
According to American scientific newspaper ScienceDaily, researchers from the University of Yale found mutation genes that contribute to the development of ovarian cancer. These findings were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. According to research conducted by Yale professors, only specific gene mutations can contribute to the development of carcinosarcomas. This means that diagnosis of ovarian cancer can in most cases be made earlier if a woman knows she has a genetic predisposition for the disease and gets examined on a regular basis.
Doctors usually use either scan or ultrasound for diagnosis of ovarian cancer. These methods can help doctors identify and assess the nature of the tumor. Doctors also need to check the patient’s medical history to analyze previously transferred gynecological diseases and understand if she has a hereditary predisposition. The doctor may ask you about your menstruation cycle and number of pregnancies. Women are advised to undergo gynecological examination combined with bimanual investigation.
Sometimes diagnosis is done by laparoscopy, whereby a doctor may examine the ovaries by means of inserting a thin lighted tube into the patient’s abdomen. If a benign cyst is found, its removal is not required. If there are signs of cancerous malformation, surgical intervention is necessary.
Surgery of this type of cancer usually implies the removal of the ovaries and sometimes the fallopian tubes. Main surgery types are:
Hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus.
Salpingo-oophorectomy is the removal of fallopian tube and ovaries.
Lymphadenectomy is a resection of affected lymph nodes.
It should be noted that all these types of surgeries are most effective if cancer was diagnosed at an early stage. In this case, women may still be able to reproduce. This applies to cases where cancer has not spread to other organs.
Once surgery is performed, the patient is treated with radiotherapy and chemotherapy. The purpose of these procedures is to try to destroy any cancer cells that were not removed by surgery. Some doctors use a combination of surgery and three courses of chemotherapy.
Nowadays radiosurgery, which is one of the most modern treatment techniques, is also gaining in popularity. This method is practically painless and bloodless, as it does not damage the patient’s healthy tissue. Neoplastic cells are targeted by radioactive rays that are directed through the so-called gamma-knife. This method is only applicable for small tumors and the exact location of the tumor must be calculated very precisely. On average, chemotherapy is administered in three or four (or more) courses. The first course is done immediately after surgery and continues over the following one or two months.
Some patients need to undergo chemotherapy every six months. During the first course of chemotherapy, the patient receives the highest number of dose. The dose of subsequent courses should be no less than seventy per cent of the previous one. To achieve a lasting effect after the operation, chemotherapy is continued from one to three years.
Chemotherapy is sometimes prescribed before surgery, as it inhibits tumor growth and blocks metastases. Nevertheless, chemotherapy has a lot of adverse side effects. They are as follows:
On completion of chemotherapy, these adverse side effects disappear. The patient regains hair growth and their appetite is restored. However, some medications cause lasting side effects, which can remain for life.Hide
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