Ovarian cancer is a group of diseases that originates in the ovaries, or in the related areas of the fallopian tubes and the peritoneum. Most ovarian cancers start in the epithelium, or outer lining, of the ovary. In the early stages, there may be few or no symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they can resemble those of other conditions, such as premenstrual syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, or a temporary bladder problem.
Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
When ovarian cancer first develops, it might not cause any noticeable symptoms. There are many times when ovarian cancer symptoms are misinterpreted as being caused by other, more common diseases. Symptoms include:
- Swelling or abdominal bloating
- Fatigue and excessive weight loss
- Quickly feeling full when eating
- Pain and discomfort n the pelvic area
- Back pain, constipation, and changes in bowel habits
- A frequent need to urinate
Types of Ovarian Cancer
- Epithelial ovarian cancer. This type is the most common. Several subtypes fall under this type, including serous and mucinous carcinomas.
- Stromal tumors. Rare ovarian cancers are usually diagnosed at an earlier stage than other ovarian cancers.
- Germ cell tumors. These rare ovarian cancers tend to occur at a younger age.
Is Ovarian Cancer Curable?
Ovarian cancer is now the fifth most common cause of cancer-related death among females in the United States. Approximately 20% of women with advanced-stage ovarian cancer survive beyond 12 years after treatment and are effectively cured. The aim is to remove as much cancer as possible. Sometimes, additional treatment is needed.
The Available Treatment Method for Ovarian Cancer
Treatment for ovarian cancer typically involves a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. These includes:
- Surgery to remove the affected ovary and surgery for advanced cancer. If your cancer is advanced, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove as much cancer as possible.
- Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that uses chemicals to kill fast-growing cells in the body, including cancer cells. It is often used after surgery to kill any cancer cells that might remain.
- Targeted therapy. Targeted drug treatments focus on specific weaknesses present within cancer cells. Targeted drug treatments can cause cancer cells to die.
- Hormone therapy. Some ovarian cancer cells use estrogen to help them grow, so blocking estrogen may help control cancer. Several types of slow-growing ovarian cancer may be treated by hormone therapy.
- Immunotherapy. It uses the immune system to fight cancer by interfering with that process. Immunotherapy might be an option for treating ovarian cancer in certain situations.
- Supportive care. Palliative care is specialized medical care that focuses on providing relief from pain and other symptoms of a serious illness.
Get tested as soon as possible if you are experiencing symptoms of ovarian cancer. If a family member or someone you know has ovarian cancer, it is esential to receive proper care provided by a team of doctors, nurses, and other specially trained professionals that aims to improve the quality of life for people with cancer and their families.