What is ovarian cancer ?
The Presence of cancerous cells in the ovaries is an indication of ovarian cancer. The two almond shaped organs on either sides of the uterus are the ovaries. The hormones namely estrogen and progesterone are responsible for the growth of female characteristics. These hormones regulate the menstrual cycles and pregnancy.
Types of ovarian cancers:
The cancer that develops on the surface of the ovaries (epithelium) is called ovarian cancer. The different types of epithelial ovarian cancers are
- Undifferentiated or Unclassifiable
- Clear cell
The treatment procedures for each of these cancers are the same.
The other ovarian cancers that does not attack the epithelial cells yet affects the ovaries are-
- Stromal Ovarian Cancer (germ cell ovarian tumors): The cell changes that hold the ovaries together causes stromal cancer
- Germ cell Ovarian Cancer (sex cord stromal tumors): It affects teenage girls and children.
The ovaries produces the eggs and these egg producing cells are attacked and cancer develops.
The early stage cancers usually do not show any symptoms and sometimes they do. These are responsible for ovarian cancers. The most common symptoms are-
- Abdominal pain
- Trouble eating
- Frequency in urination
The above symptoms are shown in both benign(non-cancerous) and non-benign(cancerous) diseasescaused in other organs. But the symptoms are not to be ignored. If you find the symptoms persistent you should consult a doctor immediately.
Other symptoms include -
- Pain while having sex
- Menstrual changes
- Abdominal swelling
What are the causes and risks of ovarian cancers ?
What actually causes cancer is still not determined. But as observations shows there are certain factors that induce cancer. One must also remember that the factors need not always cause this disease.
- Ovarian cancer is connected to obesity. One who is obese is more likely to develop ovarian cancer.
- Women more than 40 are more prone to develop cancer. As one goes older the risk is also higher
- Women who use oral contraceptive pills have lower risk in developing cancer.
- Women who undergo tubal ligation surgery too are safe to a certain extent
- Fertility drugs like clomiphene citrate for a long duration is known to cause ovarian cancer
- A drug called danzol increases the risk of ovarian cancer.
- Women who use estrogen therapy after menopause too are likely to develop cancer
Cancer also has an inclination to the hereditary characteristics. If a mother, sister has had ovarian cancer there are more chances that your daughter may also get it. It can be from your father’s side as well.
Preparing for your appointment :
If the doctor notices signs that may cause cancer he will refer you to a specialist who treats female reproductive cancers (Gynaecologist Oncologist). A gynaecologic oncologist is an obstetrician who has had a specialization in oncology who has had training in the treatment of gynaecologic cancers.
- Before meeting the doctor
- Note down your symptoms
- Any medical history
- Check for any pre-appointment conditions
- Make a note of the queries so that you can discuss it with your doctor
- Just recollect your observations so that any can answer your doctors questions with regards to the on-going problem
Tests and Diagnosis :
In most of the cases women are diagnosed when they are in the III stage of ovarian cancer which has less chances of survival. The symptoms also do not show up in the earlier stages. If only the doctor notices an enlargement in the ovary then he can put her through treatment immediately which too will help her survive.
Physical exam :
An internal vaginal examination shows lumps or any masses, then that’s a high alert. Or if you notice any retention of fluid in your abdomen then with the help of a local anaesthesia, a needle is passed through your skin and the liquid is collected to examine for any cancerous cells. This procedure is called paracentesis.
Blood tests :
The cancer cells produce chemical proteins called CA-125. A high result in the presence of this chemical protein in your blood tests is an indication that you are suffering from ovarian cancer.
Imaging tests :
You will be put through a number of imaging scans to detect the stage and the extent of the disease.
An ultrasound uses wave’sto produce echoes that creates a picture and shows the ovaries clearly
PET scan :
APositron Emission Tomography is better than a CT scan as it shows the abnormal tissues in the body more visibly.
CT scan :
A computerised tomography is used to click pictures of the inside of your body. But it is not very accurate and may not detect all the ovarian tumors.
MRI scans :
The usage of MRI scanto detect ovarian cancer I quite less. An MRI scan is a magnetic resonance Image which uses radio waves and magnetism to build pictures of the body.
A bowel examination through a test called colonoscopy helps in determining if the symptoms are due to rule out any bowel problem.
The treatment procedures also depends upon various factors such as
- Surgery and chemotherapy are the treatment procedures followed
- Possible side effects
- Patient’s preferences incase she wants to have children and thereby the age and the overall health are also taken into consideration.
- The type and the stage of the cancer
A surgery is one best option as it shows the extent of the disease. Moreover at least 30%c of the ovarian cancers has a tendency to spread to the other organs. This makes it evenmore difficult to clear cancer.
The surgery options too are conducted in combination with two or more procedures. They are enlisted here
A partial removal of the uterus is called partial hysterectomy and the complete removal of the uterus is hysterectomy which will avoid the spreading of the cancer to other parts
This procedure removes both the fallopian tubes and the ovaries. If both the ovaries and the fallopian tubes are removed the procedure is known as partial removal is called bilateral Salpingo-oophorectomy.
Lymph Node Dissection :
The removal of lymph nodes in the pelvis and the paraortic areas is yet another procedure to treat ovarian cancer.
Removal of a thin tissue that surrounds the stomach and the large intestine.
Cytoreductive/debulking surgery :
This method is adopted when she is terminally ill. They remove the as much tumor as possible using this procedure.
Amedical oncologist or a gynaecologist oncologist provides drugs to destroycancer cells which stop the cell from growing and dividing further.
Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy :
It reduces the size of the tumor before surgery followed by a biopsy which determines the origin of the cancer.
Adjuvant Chemotherapy :
It is used to destroy the remaining cancer.
Radiation therapy :
It is used for ovarian cancers that recur
Being diagnosed with ovarian cancer can cause anxiety and could be extremely depressing and emotional. There are many survivors throughwhom you may seek inspiration and the zest to fight the disease bravely which will intron help you in staying strong all through. You can also be a part of support cause that will help raise funds to help in the research of the ovarian cancers that will help the entire humanity.
You are not the only one who is suffering and hence there are people who will help you, guide you with the resources and the knowledge you need essentially that will help you tackle the disease.
Cancer prevention is trying hard to reduce the deaths caused by cancer in a group or in a population. By preventing cancer the deaths too will decrease. Scientists are looking at the risk factors and the protective factors to prevent any new forms of cancer. Anything that increases the chances of developing cancer is considered as a risk factor. Factors such as quitting smoking etc. canbe followed while the genetic factors that cause cancer cannotbe prevented.
Following a healthy diet and regular exercise routine can be a preventive factor. A rigorous study reveals that some of these methods will enable prevention of cancer.
- Avoid foods and habits that may cause cancer
- Develop healthy lifestyle changes
- Take medications to avoid pre-cancerous condition to prevent the chances of cancer to develop.
Why choose KIMS ?
KIMS Hospital Kondapur and Secunderabad is the best ovarian cancer treatment center in Hyderabad. KIMS Hospital offers comprehensive chemotherapy treatment with best results in Hyderabad for ovarian cancer. KIMS Hospital is one of the best ovarian cancer hospitals in India. The best ovarian cancer specialist is at KIMS. KIM’s hospital has the best gyne surgical oncologists in Hyderabad. KIMS Hospital Kondapur and Secunderabad is one of the only few hospitals in Hyderabad conducting best robotic cancer surgeries for treating ovarian cancers.