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Ovarian Cancer

WHAT IS OVARIAN CANCER?

A malignant growth in the ovary that is likely to spread to other body parts and threaten life.

INVOLVES

One or both ovaries. Very fast growing cancer. Generally spreads to the lungs and bone.

CAN AFFECT

Females of all ages, but more common in early 30s and those with a positive family history.

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS

Frequently no symptoms occur until the tumor becomes large.

Earliest symptoms:

Later symptoms:

  • Deep voice
  • Excessive hair growth. (Due to absence of female hormones, which are produced by the ovary)
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • An enlarged, hard and sometimes tender mass in the lower abdomen.
  • Painful sexual intercourse.
  • Anemia.

CAUSES

Unknown.

RISK INCREASES WITH

  • Similar history in family especially mother, sister or aunts.
  • Blood group A
  • Infertility
  • Early menopause
  • Frequent exposure to pelvic radiation

HOW TO PREVENT

  • Prevention in such cases is synonymous with EARLY DETECTION.
  • Have yearly pelvic examinations, which offer the best chance of early detection and cure.

DIAGNOSTIC MEASURES

  • Observation of symptoms.
  • History and physical examination by a gynec. Your doctor will also need to do a per vaginal examination.
  • Laboratory blood studies for tumor markers (substances that are detected in blood only if you have cancer. Their levels also tell about grade of cancer and response to drugs).
  • Ultrasonography of the abdomen. Sonography done through vagina yields better results
  • X-ray or CT scan of the abdomen.
  • Surgical diagnostic procedures, such as culdoscopy and laparoscopy.

POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS

Death from spread of cancer to other body parts.

PROBABLE OUTCOME

25% to 50% of women with ovarian cancer survive at least 5 years after treatment.

TREATMENT

GENERAL MEASURES

Get proper explanation of surgery and postoperative care.

MEDICATION:

Your doctor may prescribed:

  • Anticancer drugs.
  • Pain relievers.
  • Female hormones until menopause.

ACTIVITY

No restrictions after recovery from surgery.

DIET

Eat a normal, well-balanced diet that is high in protein to promote repair of body tissues.

CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY, IF

  • You have symptoms of an ovarian tumor.
  • The following occurs after surgery
    • Increased pain
    • Swelling
    • Redness or drainage from the surgical wound.
    • Pain or swelling in the leg
    • Signs of infection, such as fever, chills, headache or muscle aches
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