All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction and should not take the place of health care or services you may need. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.  Ovarian cancer will affect 1 in 72 women at some point during their lifetime (Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program).  The higher incidence is among older women, but there are many cases of ovarian cancer among younger women.

Ovarian cancer is a very difficult cancer to diagnose since the symptoms are vague and mimic other conditions.  Symptoms may include:

Heavy feeling in pelvis
Pain in lower abdomen
Bleeding from the vagina
Weight gain or loss
Abnormal periods
Unexplained back pain that gets worse
Gas, nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite

The most common type of ovarian cancer is Epithelial cell cancer (85-90% of cases).  Here are some risk factors for epithelial cell cancer:

Age older than 55 years
Family history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, or endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus)
Personal history of breast cancer
BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation
Never having had children

In order to diagnose ovarian cancer, you should get a physical examination.  Your doctor might order a transvaginal ultrasound exam and a blood test that will measure the level of CA 125.  If any of these tests look suspicious you will have a biopsy that will test the tissue in your ovaries for cancer.

If you do have ovarian cancer, surgery will be done to discover what stage your cancer is in (how far the cancer has spread from the ovaries, if at all.)  Surgical option include removing the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes.  Tests such as colonoscopy, CT scan, and MRI may be done to see how far the cancer has spread.  Surgery is usually followed by chemotherapy as part of the treatment for ovarian cancer.

For more detailed information on Ovarian Cancer, check out these links:

Ovarian Cancer (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) – PDF

How Is Ovarian Cancer Diagnosed? (American Cancer Society)

Drugs Approved for Ovarian Cancer (National Cancer Institute)

Ovarian Epithelial Cancer (PDQ): Treatment (National Cancer Institute)

Treatment Side-Effects (National Ovarian Cancer Coalition)

No comments:

Post a Comment