Ovarian cancer usually happens in women over age 50, but it can also affect younger women. Its cause is unknown. Ovarian cancer is hard to detect early.
Ovarian cancer occurs when a cancerous tumor is in a woman’s ovary. In most cases, there are no known causes. There are often no symptoms, but ovarian cancer warning signs include ongoing pain or cramps in the belly or back, abnormal vaginal bleeding, and nausea and bloating. Depending on the cancer stage, ovarian cancer treatment includes surgery and chemotherapy.
The sooner ovarian cancer is found and treated, the better your chance for recovery.
The treatment information in this document is not official policy of the Society and is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your cancer care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.
Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, accounting for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. It is estimated that there will be about 15,280 deaths from ovarian cancer in the United States during 2007.
Many types of tumors can start growing in the ovaries. Some are benign (non-cancerous) and never spread beyond the ovary. Patients with these types of tumors can be treated successfully by removing one ovary or the part of the ovary that contains the tumor. Other types of ovarian tumors are malignant (cancerous) and may spread to other parts of the body (metastasize). Their treatment is more complex and is discussed later in this report.
After the surgery, depending on whether you had a laparoscopic procedure or laparotomy, there may be some pain and abdominal discomfort. (Laparoscopy is generally associated with less pain and a quicker recovery.) You may also feel nauseous and not feel like eating. These side effects are temporary and can be controlled. Talk to your doctors about how you can control your pain and nausea.
Treating ovarian cancer depends on a number of factors, including the stage of the disease and the woman’s age and general health. Oncologists who specialize in this disease can best determine the treatment plan. Because treatment decisions are complex, more than one doctor’s advice can be helpful.
Primary treatment is surgery to remove the cancer (through total hysterectomy to remove the uterus and cervix) as well as surrounding tissue to which the cancer has spread (debulking). Following surgery, chemotherapy (anti-cancer drugs), such as carboplatin and paclitaxel, are given intravenously.
The new treatment is for women with advanced ovarian cancer, which, sadly, includes most patients with the disease. If caught at its earliest stage, almost all cases of ovarian cancer can be cured. Unfortunately, most cases aren’t found until much later because the disease causes no specific symptoms in its early stages. About one woman in 57 in the United States will develop this disease in her lifetime. Most of those affected are over 50. Women with a family history of the disease are at high risk, as are those who have already had breast or colon cancer and women who haven’t had children.
You are most likely to be treated by a team of specialist doctors working together, known as a gynaecology oncology team. This will include a surgeon (gynaecologist) and a cancer specialist (oncologist). It should also include a gynaecological oncology specialist nurse, who can give you information about treatment and any support you may need. These gynaecology oncology teams are usually based in specialist cancer hospitals and so you may need to travel some distance to hospital for your treatment.
Edited from articlesbase.com