Frequently asked questions about ovarian cancer | Dr. Geetha Nagasree Answers
What are the early signs of ovarian cancer?
The early signs of ovarian cancer include the following:
- Abdominal swelling
- Changes in bowel movements
- Abdominal and Pelvic pain
- Frequent urination
- Heaviness in the abdomen
Is Ovarian Cancer Dangerous?
Ovarian cancer is dangerous because it doesn’t easily come on specialists’ radar. In a majority of cases, patients often see several specialists – may be up to two to three becoming reaching an oncologist for definitive diagnosis. Epithelial cell ovarian cancer is the deadliest type of ovarian cancer as almost 80% of the patients die due to this condition.
How is Ovarian Cancer Usually detected?
There are no reliable screening tests for ovarian cancer. Diagnosis of ovarian cancer is often suspected based on symptoms and physical exam, and these are followed by imaging. If a gynecologist detects abnormal mass in the regular clinical examination such as a pelvic exam – she may order laboratory tests and imaging studies. Based on the results of imaging tests such as abdominal ultrasound and CT scan or MRI – biopsy is preferably recommended to diagnose the type of cancer. A post-menopausal woman with high CA-125 levels and other symptoms presents a highly suspected case of ovarian cancer.
What are the late symptoms of ovarian cancer?
Weight loss, menstrual irregularities, pressure in the pelvis, lower abdomen, lower back pain, abdominal swelling, extreme fatigue or unexplained exhaustion lack of appetite, increased urination frequency, constipation, weight loss, bloating, abdominal cramps and painful sex are the late signs of ovarian cancer.
What is the best treatment for ovarian cancer?
Surgery is the best treatment for ovarian cancer as it involves staging and debulking. It is done extensively if the cancer is spread to other organs. Surgery is followed by radiation and chemotherapy. Targeted therapy is another specific mode of treatment that identifies cancerous cells and targets them leaving healthy cells intact.
What are some of the ovarian cancer symptoms that may easily get ignored?
Bloating, tummy upset, abdominal pain, indigestion, constipation, and lower back pain and pressure are some of the most common signs that may get easily ignored. The signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer mimic the symptoms of less serious health issues.
Does stage 1 ovarian cancer require chemotherapy?
After extensive surgery cancerous tissues are debulked as much as possible. Chemotherapy may be recommended.
Let us first understand the different stages of ovarian cancer:
Stages of ovarian cancer:
Stage 1 ovarian cancer is confined or located in one or both ovaries.
Stage 2 cancer is limited to the pelvis
Stage 3 – cancer has spread to the outside of the pelvis within the abdomen but with the involvement of lymph nodes. The disease has not spread to the liver.
Stage 4 cancer – it has spread to the liver – outside the abdomen.
What is the prognosis of ovarian cancer?
Prognosis: It is good if ovarian cancer is detected early and treated comprehensively after being removed surgically.
Extensive surgery with proper staging and debulking followed by chemotherapy proves quite beneficial. With optimal surgery followed by chemotherapy, the chances of survival improve up to 50% and the patient can live up to six or more years. This is quite good compared to other advanced-stage cancers.
If you have additional frequently asked questions about ovarian cancer, then meet Dr. Geetha Nagasree for comprehensive information and discussion.