Ovarian Cancer: Management and Prevention
For effective treatment of ovarian cancer, it is required for women get diagnosed in its early stages. In diagnosing ovarian cancer, it is important for medical doctors to note the medical history of the patient involved; this is because there are presently no effective screening test until a physical test has been done if there are suspicions of ovarian cancer in the body.
However, due to the fact that the ovaries are situated deep within the abdominal cavity, the presence of tumor being noticed is quite slim, that is why it is important for an individual to report any unusual or persistent pain or symptoms to a medical doctor. Thereafter, the doctor can recommend various screening test (most important the pelvic examination) if he/she suspects ovarian cancer. These tests will help to show if there are any form of abnormalities present in the ovary, and they could be followed up with a biopsy.
This is the checking for any form of lumps by feeling the abdomen. Here, the doctor will place two fingers inside the vagina while he/she presses the abdomen with the other hand. Vaginal and rectal examination can also be done by the doctor so as to feel the tissues surrounding the uterus to check if the cancer has not grown there.
Blood Tests (CA 125 Tests)
Getting the blood tested helps to determine the overall health condition of a person, that is why some medical doctors prescribes that some patient get it done. For ovarian cancer, the blood is usually tested for tumor makers that outline the presence of ovarian cancer; and this blood test is known as the CA-125 test. The CA-125 test help to check for proteins produced by cancer cells, and it tends to be higher in some women with ovarian cancer. However, it can rise due to other reasons other than cancer, including ovulation, menstruation, liver or kidney disease etc.
The CA-125 test can’t be used in women that do not show signs of ovarian cancer, and they help to give clues to medical doctors on the diagnosis and prognosis of ovarian cancer.
So as to enable medical doctors or oncologist determine the extent or stage of the ovarian cancer, there can be recommendation for imaging tests to be carried out. X-rays can also be used to check the lungs for cancer that might have spread there. Imaging tests such as pelvic ultrasound, CT scan, PET scan are the commonly used ones.
This is the best method for diagnosing and determining the presence and growth of cancer. It is medical procedure where a small tissue sample is taken from the ovaries so as to check for cancer cells. Biopsy is usually done with the guidance of an ultrasound or CT scan. The sample gotten is analyzed under a microscope.
Treatment for ovarian cancer depends on so many variables: the type of cancer a patient have, the stage of the cancer, general health conditions and fitness, future desire to have children and the doctor’s recommendation. This would help to know which treatment plan is best suited.
These are the various treatment options available for ovarian cancer:
This is the main option required for ovarian cancer. It is the total removal of the tumour; and its operations include:
This is the drug treatment of ovarian cancer using chemicals known as anti – cancer (cytotoxic) to kill fast – growing cancer cells in the body. It is used to destroy cancer cells without causing damages to other normal and healthy cells. It can be used before or after surgery.
This is using medications to target certain abnormalities present within the ovary. It is usually reserved for treating ovarian cancer that returns after an initial treatment has been resisted (especially after chemotherapy). The targeted therapy drugs get inside the cancer cells and block some particular proteins (enzymes) that help the cancer to grow.
This is also known as radiotherapy; it uses x-rays to damage cancer cells. The radiation is targeted at cancer sites in your body, with the aim of reducing the cancer's growth and improving symptoms. For ovarian cancer, radiation therapy may be used to treat the pelvis or other sites of cancer that have spread further away. It may be used after chemotherapy or on its own as a palliative treatment.
This is otherwise known as supportive treatment plan. It is usually used along with other form of treatment (e.g. chemotherapy and radiation therapy). It is a specialized medical care that focuses on helping patient with ovarian cancer gets reliefs from its symptoms and pain.
Treatment Plan by Type of Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer rarely shows any signs or symptoms at its early stages except it has progressed into an advanced stage. Although there is no proven way to prevent the risk of developing ovarian cancer, yet there are several ways in which one can lower its risk. And these ways include: