Ovarian Cancer: Symptoms and treatment


By- Padmasree Dr.(Prof) Alka Kriplani, Director & Head-Centre for Minimally Invasive Gynecology, Obstetrics & ART, Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon

What is ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the ovaries begin to grow out of control and form a tumor. If left untreated, the tumor can spread to other parts of the body. This is called metastatic ovarian cancer.Ovarian cancer often has warning signs, but the initial symptoms are unclear and easy to dismiss. Twenty percent of ovarian cancer is detected in early stage

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What are the early symptoms of ovarian cancer?

The early symptoms of ovarian cancer are easy to ignore because they are similar to other common diseases or they come and go.

 Initial symptoms include:

1-Abdominal bloating, pressure and pain

2-Abnormal fullness after meals3- Increased urination


There may be other symptoms of ovarian cancer, such as:

1-fatigue

2-indigestion

3-heartburn

4-constipation

5- Back pain

6- Menstrual irregularity 

These symptoms can occur for any reason. They are not necessarily due to ovarian cancer. Many women have some of these problems at one time or another. Such symptoms are often temporary and in most cases respond to simple treatment. Those symptoms will remain due to ovarian cancer. Symptoms usually become more severe as tumors grow. By this time, cancer has usually spread outside the ovaries, making it very difficult to treat effectively.
Cancer is treated better on early detection. If you experience new and unusual symptoms, please consult your doctor.


Types of ovarian cancer

The exact cause of ovarian cancer is unknown. However, these factors can  increase your risk:

1-A family history of ovarian cancer

2-Genetic alterations of genes associated with ovarian cancer

3-Personal history of breast, uterus, or colon cancer.


Most cases of ovarian cancer develop after menopause.It is possible to have ovarian cancer without any of these risk factors. Likewise, having any of these risk factors does not mean that you will develop ovarian cancer.


How is ovarian cancer diagnosed?

Ovarian cancer can be treated when your doctor diagnoses it in the early stages. However, it is not easy to detect.
Your ovaries are located deep within the abdominal cavity, so you are unlikely to feel a tumor. There is no routine clinical screening program available for ovarian cancer. It is very important for you to report unusual or persistent symptoms to your doctor. If your doctor is concerned that you have ovarian cancer, they will likely recommend a pelvic exam. Performing a pelvic exam can help your doctor detect irregularities, but it is very difficult to feel small ovarian tumors. As the tumor grows, it presses against the bladder and rectum. Your doctor may be able to detect irregularities during an internal examination.

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