What Is Ovarian Cancer Treatment And Surgery:
An abnormal growth in the size and number of cells in the lining epithelium of the ovaries is known as ovarian cancer. The specialty which aims at diagnosing and curing the ovarian cancer with various modalities is known as ovarian cancer treatment. A single ovary is present on each side of the uterus connected with it via a pair of fallopian tubes on each side. Eggs are produced in the ovaries which travel upto the fallopian tube for fertilization and then to the uterus for implantation. Cancer of the ovaries is a serious condition which not attended at the right time may prove to be fatal. It is the second most leading cause of deaths in females all across the globe, also considered as one of the most dreaded and serious forms of cancers.
Causes of Ovarian Cancer:
- Hormonal imbalance as a result of oral contraceptives, steroids
- Improper breast feeding regime followed may lead to chance of developing ovarian cancer in the female
- If ovarian cancer history runs in the family, there is more chance of acquiring it as a result of genetic influence
- Smoking, alcohol, older age, obesity may add to the cause for ovarian cancer
- In some cases, if the breast cancer tests are positive, there may be a chance that ovarian cancer will develop too
- The more the number of reproductions at an older age, the more is the chance of ovarian cancer
Signs and Symptoms Of Ovarian Cancer:
- Pain and discomfort in the pelvic and the lower abdomen region
- Inconsistency in the bladder movements
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Irregular digestion, constipation
- A feeling of fullness even on eating very less
- Constant back pain
- In many cases , patients may also complain of severe heartburn
Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer:
- Physical examination: It is done by the gynecologist and the onco surgeon in the clinical setup. Palpation is done in the pelvic region to test for tenderness and check for any fluid content or bloating.
- Blood tests: It is manly done to check for a marker called as CA-125 which is elevated in the blood in case of ovarian cancer.
- Imaging tests: An ultrasound USG, a magnetic resonance imaging MRI and a computed tomography CT are generally advised for ovarian cancer detection to determine the location and the extent of involvement of the cancer within as well as outside the ovaries.
- Laparoscopy: This is done with the help of an instrument known as a laparascope which is a long tubular instrument to the end of which is attached one small camera. This part is inserted into the abdomen via a small incision so that the ovaries can be examined well.
- Colonoscopy: This is used to study the rectum and lower part of the large intestine in case the ovarian cancer has invaded the peritoneal cavities.
- Fine needle aspiration cytology: In case an ovarian cyst is suspected, a thin needle can be inserted within the ovaries so as to aspirate its contents and study them in labs to know the type and nature of the cancer.
- Abdominal fluid aspiration: The fluid which causes bloating in the lower abdomen or the pelvic region can also be aspirated with the help of a long tubular thin needle and the fluid is then examined for its contents
- Biopsy: It is an excisional procedure in which the part of the ovary containing the cancer mass is removed and then stained with various dyes and the type and nature of cancer is detected.
Types of Ovarian Cancer:
The types of ovarian cancers are defined in stages according to the extent of cancer and nature of its aggression. The stages are as follows:
- Stage one: Cancer is restricted strictly in the ovarian region. It may involve either one or both the ovaries
- Stage two: In this case, cancer spreads to the other parts within the abdomen such as fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix and vagina. This marks the beginning of the metastatic cancer.
- Stage three: This type of cancer is still within the abdomen but now has also started affecting the lining epithelium of the peritoneal cavity and the adjacent lymph nodes
- Stage four: In this stage, organs outside the abdomen are affected since cancer has invaded these tissues. The organs affected include liver, spleen, lungs, large intestine
Treatment Procedures for Ovarian Cancer:
- Radiation therapy: It is a method which uses ionizing radiation to kill the cancer cells. Beams of radiation are targeted towards the pelvic region in order to cause disintegration of the cancer mass in the ovaries. Multiple sessions of radiation therapy with a prescribed dose and frequency of radiation are required and advised by the radiotherapist and the oncologist.
- Chemotherapy: In this process, anti cancer drugs are administered which bring about killing of the cancer mass. This method uses a combination of cancer lethal drugs. These drugs reduce the oxygen and nutrient availability for the cancer cells which ultimately results in their death.
- Oopherectomy: The removal of one or both the ovaries is known as oopherectomy. This procedure is carried out under general anesthesia and requires hospitalization. If the cancer has involved the entire mass of the ovaries and is still restricted at them, it becomes the choice of treatment to remove only the affected ovary and leave the other structures intact.
- Salpingo-oopherectomy: When the cancer from the ovary has also invaded the fallopian tubes, no radiation and chemotherapy can bring about a halt to its invasion, it is better to remove the ovaries along with the fallopian tubes in order to prevent its metastasis into adjacent areas.
- Hysterectomy: In severe cases when the ovarian cancer has spread to the entire mass of the uterus, it becomes mandatory to surgically excise the entire ball of cancer mass along with the uterus along with the fallopian tubes and the ovaries.
- Lymph node dissection: Stage 3 and 4 of ovarian cancer also require an additional surgical procedure known as the lymph node dissection. In this procedure, the affected lymph nodes are also removed in order to prevent the metastasis into other parts.
- Cytoreductive surgery: In stage 4 cancer, the entire abdominal and peritoneal cavity is involved. A cytoreductive surgical approach aims at removing cancer mass from all the affected parts including the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, liver, spleen, colon and the rectum. This is the last resort for the treatment when no radiation and chemotherapy sessions help in subsiding the cancer symptoms.
Complications And Risk Factors Associated With Ovarian Cancer:
- Radiation and chemotherapy sessions are non specific treatments; along with the cancer cells certain other normal cells can also be killed. The most sensitive are the hair follicles, hence hair loss is seen after these therapies
- Skin rash and irritation
- Soreness in the throat
- Medications prescribes may cause weight loss, reduced appetite, general weakness, nausea, vomiting
- Infections at the site of suturing, scarring becomes common in unhygienic conditions
- Smoking, alcohol increase the chances of treatment failures and cancer relapse
- Obesity carries a major risk for recurrence of cancer
- Uncontrolled hypertension and diabetes may pose a threat the time of surgical procedures in the operation theatre
Am I Good Candidate for Ovarian Cancer Treatment?
You should see a gynecologist as soon as possible when you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Frequent urge to urinate with a painful urination
- Constant pain and discomfort in the pelvic and lower abdomen region
- Palpable lymph nodes in the lower back
- Pain and distress in the lower back region
- For a surgical approach, a hospital stay for about a week is required.
- The recovery time can range between 10 to 20 days depending upon the type of incision and the surgery done
- Radiation and chemotherapy for stage 1 and 2 is effective in almost 90 percent of cases in any age group
- The chances of success reduce to almost 30 percent for stage 3 and 4 with more chances of recurrence within the span of a year
- Oopherectomy and hysterectomy carry an equal success rate of 75 percent
- For a stage 4 cancer however, the surgical approaches carry a success rate as low as 10 percent
Benefits of Ovarian Cancer Treatment:
Treatment done at the correct time would help in the following manner:
- Increase the longevity; ovarian cancers are known to be the second most leading cause of deaths in females
- Maintain the integrity of the reproductive age of women
- Prevent metastasis of the cancer in the adjacent healthy tissues
- Preserve the anatomy and physiology of the hormonal system
Why Choose India:
For an effective and result oriented treatment outcome, team MedcureIndia highly suggests the Indian hospitals and institutes to it clients. These hospitals are well equipped and thoroughly versed with the diagnostic tools and strive towards the betterment of the overall health of the individual.