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Ovarian Cancer - A Continuation


How is Ovarian Cancer Diagnosed?

It’s much easier to treat ovarian cancer when it is diagnosed in the early stages. However, it’s not easy to detect. Ovaries are situated deep within the abdominal cavity, so you’re unlikely to feel a tumor. Currently, there’s no routine diagnostic screening available for ovarian cancer. That’s why it’s so important for you to report unusual or persistent symptoms to your doctor.


If your doctor is concerned that you have ovarian cancer, they’ll likely recommend a pelvic exam. Performing a pelvic exam can help your doctor discover irregularities, but small ovarian tumors are very difficult to feel. As the tumor grows, it presses against the bladder and rectum. Your doctor may be able to detect irregularities during a recto-vaginal pelvic examination.


The Following Tests May be Ordered:

*Transvaginall Ultrasound (TVUS). This is a type of imaging test that uses sound waves to detect tumors in the reproductive organs, including the ovaries. However, TVUS does not determine whether tumors are cancerous.

*Abdominal and Pelvic CT scan. If you’re allergic to dye, they may order a pelvic MRI scan.

*Biopsy. This involves removing a small sample of tissue from the ovary and analysing the sample under a microscope. A biopsy is the only way there can be a conclusive diagnosis of ovarian cancer.


Stages of Ovarian Cancer The spread of the cancer can be staged into 4 stages with each stage having a sub-staging.

STAGE One Stage 1A: The cancer is limited, or localized, to one ovary. Stage 1B: The cancer is in both ovaries. Stage 1C: There are also cancer cells on the outside of the ovary.


STAGE Two In stage 2, the tumor has spread to other pelvic structures. Stage 2A: The cancer has spread to the uterus or fallopian tubes. Stage 2B: The cancer spread to the bladder or rectum.


STAGE Three

Stage 3A: The cancer has spread beyond the pelvis to the lining of the abdomen and the lymph nodes in the abdomen. Stage 3B: The cancer cells are outside of the spleen or liver. Stage 3C: Deposits of cancer are seen on the abdomen or outside the spleen or liver. However, the cancer isn’t inside the spleen or liver.


STAGE Four

In stage 4, the tumor has spread, beyond the pelvis, abdomen, and lymph nodes to the liver or lungs.

Stage 4A, the cancerous cells are in the fluid around the lungs. Stage 4B, the most advanced stage, the cells have reached the inside of the spleen or liver or even other distant organs like the skin or brain.


How Ovarian Cancer is Treated The treatment depends on how far the cancer has spread. A treatment plan depending on a patient's situation is determined and will most likely include two or more of the following:

Radiation, chemotherapy, surgery to stage the cancer and remove the tumor, or surgery. The goal of surgery is to remove the tumor, but a hysterectomy, or complete removal of the uterus can in some cases become necessary. Targeted therapies, such as chemotherapy and radiation treatments, attack the cancer cells while doing little damage to normal cells in the body. Treatment success depends on a variety of factors, including the stage of the cancer at diagnosis, a patient's overall health, and how well a person responds to treatment. Every cancer is unique, but the stage of the cancer is the most important indicator of outlook.


Can Ovarian Cancer be Prevented? There are no proven ways to totally eliminate a person's risk of developing ovarian cancer.

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