Ovarian cancer is the development or growth of cancer cells in different parts of ovary. The actual cause of ovarian cancer is yet to be identified. However, women are exposed with greater risk of developing ovarian cancer due to family history, history of any type of cancer, age above 50 years and in unmarried women or women never get pregnant.
Ovarian cancer signs and symptoms are unclear, however it include pressure, frequent urinary urge or urination, swollen abdomen, leg pain, back pain, unusual bleeding during menstrual cycle, etc. Ovarian cancer survival rates highly depend upon the stage of the cancer combined with the health and age of the women.
Warning signs of ovarian cancer
There are no obvious signs or symptoms in the early stage of cancer. However, following symptoms may be the warning signs of ovarian cancer.
Early ovarian cancer may not cause obvious symptoms. But, as the cancer grows, symptoms may include:
1. Pain in back, legs, pelvis and abdomen
2. Bloated abdomen
3. Indigestion, constipation, nausea
4. Dizziness throughout the day
Symptoms of ovarian cancer
There are few ovarian cancer symptoms that are very rare and less common. It includes:
1. Frequent urge to urination
2. Shortness of breath
3. Abnormal menstrual cycles – either frequent recurrence of menstrual cycle or delayed menstrual cycle
4. Uncommon vaginal bleeding
5. Bleeding even after menopause
8. All problems associated with digestion
Most of the uncommon symptoms not always arise due to cancer or leads to ovarian cancer. However, it makes better sense in visiting the doctor to get appropriate diagnosis.
Ovarian cancer Treatment:
Surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are the prescribed treatments for ovarian cancer.
Surgery is the common treatment option recommended for all stages of ovarian cancer. When the development of ovarian cancer is diagnosed in the earlier stage, surgery is the only treatment for ovarian cancer.
Surgery involves removal of uterus, removal of fallopian tubes and both ovaries, complete or partial removal of omentum, which is the fatty layer covering the abdominal organs and removal of other tissues and lymph nodes in the abdomen and the pelvis. Women who have undergone surgery for ovarian cancer can withstand the pain and feel comfortable for a few days subsequent to surgery. Pain killers are prescribed to control the pain. However, before surgery, it is must to discuss with the doctor about the proposed plans for pain relief.
Healing time after surgery is different for each woman and they are required to spend several days in hospital. Some women may require spending several months in the hospital. It takes around 4 – 6 months to get back to normal and routine activities.
Chemotherapy is generally prescribed after surgery. This treatment option is used by doctors to kill the remnant of cancer cells. Chemotherapy includes prescribing drugs and more than one is prescribed. Chemotherapy is given at specific intervals and each session is followed by break or resting period. Length of the resting period and number of sessions is determined by the drugs used.
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Drugs are given in different means as follows:
The drugs are inserted into the vein through a thin tube.
For some women, IP chemotherapy – Intra Peritoneal chemotherapy is also included in ovarian cancer treatment. For IP chemotherapy the drugs are directly inserted into the abdomen through the thin tube.
Some of the chemotherapy drugs are also given by mouth.
It is also referred as radiotherapy, which is used to kill cancer cells by using high energy rays. It is rarely used in women who have taken initial ovarian cancer treatments. However, radiotherapy is also used for pain relief and to cure other problems aroused due to ovarian cancer. Even though the therapy longs for a few minutes, there will be some side effects caused by the treatment. Severity of side effects is determined and depends upon the quantum of radiation given to the patients. However, the side effects such as nausea, vomiting, skin dryness, diarrhoea, etc can be controlled and also be treated.