Ovarian CancerCancer » Ovarian Cancer
The uterus, commonly called the womb, is a hollow muscular organ located in the female pelvis between the bladder and rectum. The ovaries produce the eggs that travel through the fallopian tubes. Once the egg has left the ovary it can be fertilized and implant itself in the lining of the uterus. The main function of the uterus is to nourish the developing fetus prior to birth. Ovarian cancer progresses almost silently, with vague symptoms. By the time serious symptoms do appear, the ovarian tumor may have grown large enough to shed cancer cells throughout the abdomen. At such an advanced stage, the cancer is more difficult to cure.
Ovarian cancer is a nonspecific term for a variety of cancers that originate in the ovary. They can be classified into three large groups, epithelial cancers, germ cell tumors, and specialized stromal cell cancers. There rae three groups because the ovary contains collection of cells with three distinct origins and functions. Ovarian cancer cells that have spread outside the ovaries are referred to as metastatic ovarian cancers. Ovarian tumors tend to spread the following locations:
- Omentum (a fatty layer that covers and pads organs in the abdomen)
Cancer cells can also spread to other organs through lymph channels and the bloodstream.
Ovarian Cancer Causes
In most cases, the exact cause of ovarian cancer remains unknown but some causes that found for this cancer are:
Ovarian Cancer Symptoms
- Pain in pelvis.
- Pain in the lower side of the body (back pain).
- Pain in lower stomach.
- Feeling full rapidly when eating.
- More frequent and urgent urination.
- Pain during sexual intercourse.
- Changes in bowel habits, such as constipation.
As ovarian cancer progresses these symptoms are also possible:
- Weight loss
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Loss of appetite
Ovarian Cancer Treatment
Surgery: It is a part of treatment for all stages of ovarian cancer. For earlier stages, it may be the only treatment.
- Removal of the uterus (total hysterectomy).
- Removal of both ovaries and fallopian tubes (bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy).
- Partial or complete removal of the omentum, the fatty layer that covers and pads oragns in the abdomen.
- Examination, biopsy, or removal of the lymph nodes and other tissues in the pelvis and abdomen.
Chemotherapy: The need for chemotherapy after surgery depends on the disease stage. Chemotherapy refers to the use of medicines to stop or slow the growth of cancer cells. Chemotherapy works by interfering with the ability of rapidly growing cells (such as cancer cells) to divide or reproduce themselves. Because most of an adult's normal cells are not rapidly growing, they are not affected by chemotherapy.
Radiation therapy: Also called radio therapy that uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. A large machine directs radiation at the body. Radiation therapy is rarely used in the initial treatment of ovarian cancer, but it may be used to relieve pain and other problems caused by the disease. The treatment is given at a hospital or clinic. Each treatment takes only a few minutes.
Ovarian cancer remains the leading cause of gynecologic cancer-related morbidity and mortality in developed countries. For patients presenting with pertinent symptoms, imaging workup generally includes ultrasound or CT of the abdomen and pelvis for lesion detection and characterization. There is increasing evidence that shared management decisions are likely to lead to better patient satisfaction, coping, health behaviors, adherence to treatment recommendations, and quality of life.