Ovarian Cancer Treatment: Top Frequently Asked Questions

Ovarian Cancer Treatment: Top Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the stages of ovarian cancer?

A cancer’s stage indicates its size and if it has spread. Ovarian cancer has four phases. The grade indicates under a microscope how aberrant the cells appear. Your doctor evaluates the stage and grade to determine your best course of action.

  • Stage 1, it exclusively affects the ovaries.
  • Stage 2 ovarian cancer indicates a tumor that has spread to the pelvis from the ovaries.
  • Stage 3, ovarian cancer has progressed to lymph nodes or the abdominal cavity emanating from the pelvis.
  • Stage 4, ovarian cancer has progressed to distant organs from the ovaries, including the liver and lungs.

2. What are the early signs of ovarian cancer?

While there are symptoms associated with ovarian cancer, they are frequently mild and might be confused for other, more common issues. Rarely, early-stage ovarian tumors can cause symptoms, but for most women, these don’t appear until the disease has progressed (i.e. when the tumor’s growth causes symptoms). The following symptoms can be caused by ovarian cancer:

  • Bloating Pain (in the abdomen or pelvis)
  • Having trouble eating or feeling full quickly
  • Urination changes (frequency or urgency)

According to women who have ovarian cancer, their symptoms are ongoing and deviate from what is typical for their bodies. The extent and frequency of these symptoms have a crucial role in the diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

3. What are ovarian cysts? Can they be cancerous?

An ovarian cyst is characterized by a sac-like structure that holds a fluid or semisolid material. Numerous cysts develop as a consequence of the menstrual cycle and spontaneously disappear without presenting any symptoms. Rarely, treatment is required. Although it is rare, several ovarian cyst types have the potential to develop into cancer.

Sometimes a cyst will enlarge or press against a surrounding structure, which could result in symptoms like these:

  • Pain during intercourse
  • A persistent need to urinate
  • Pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis that may come sometimes or during menstruation
  • Irregular cycles of menstruation
  • Pressure and bloating in the abdomen

4. Who is at a high risk of ovarian cancer?

Unusual alterations (mutations) in the DNA of ovarian cells cause ovarian cancer. Various factors can raise a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer, even though the precise source of these alterations is unknown. Among them are:

  • Being above 50 years old
  • Having an ovarian cancer family history
    Being overweight
    Possessing specific hereditary gene alterations, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2
    Never getting pregnant

5. What are the tests done to check for ovarian cancer?

For women who show any symptoms or signs, there is no accurate method for screening for ovarian cancer. The most common diagnostics for ovarian cancer screening are the CA-125 blood test and transvaginal ultrasound (TVUS), which are performed in addition to a full pelvic exam.

  • Transvaginal ultrasound, or TVUS, is a test that inserts an ultrasound wand into the vagina to look at the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries using sound waves.
  • The amount of CA-125 blood test measures the amount of a protein in the blood called CA-125 of ovarian cancer patients who have elevated CA-125 levels. Given that a high level frequently decreases if treatment is effective, this test may be helpful as a tumor marker to help personal attention in women who are confirmed to have ovarian cancer.

Apart from these tests, MRI, PET, and CT scans can also be done

6. How does the treatment of ovarian cancer progress?

Removing as much, if not all, of the cancer from your body is the aim of cancer treatment. Typical therapies for ovarian cancer consist of:

  • Surgery: Usually, this means having your reproductive organs removed, as well as any organs that have cancer. Laparoscopy, a minimally invasive procedure, or laparotomy, an open procedure requiring an abdominal incision, may be performed by your surgeon.
  • Chemotherapy: It may be advised by your physician either before or following surgery. Chemotherapeutic medications are intended to specifically target and eradicate malignant cells. You may receive chemotherapy orally (as pills) from your doctor. Intravenous (via a vein) is another option.
  • Target Therapy: Medications are used in this cancer treatment to locate and destroy cancer cells. Targeted therapy modifies the growth and division patterns of cancer cells.
  • Hormone therapy: hormones help some types of ovarian cancer grow. This kind of treatment inhibits hormones, which slows or stops the spread of cancer.
  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy is a rare treatment for ovarian cancer used by providers.

7. What is the ovarian cancer survival rate?

For ovarian cancer, the overall five-year survival rate is 49%. This indicates that, five years after ovarian cancer diagnosis, about 49% of patients still live.

It is crucial to understand that survival rates are only approximations. They are unable to predict your survival time or the effectiveness of your therapy. Speak with your healthcare professional if you have any particular questions regarding the survival rates of ovarian cancer.

8. Can you get ovarian cancer without ovaries?

In principle, no; ovarian cancer can’t affect a woman who has had her ovaries removed. Primary peritoneal carcinoma is an uncommon type of cancer that is closely related to ovarian cancer but does not develop from the ovaries. The course of treatment for ovarian cancer also applies to primary peritoneal cancer.

Gene mutations affecting the BRCA1 and BRCA2 proteins can result in ovarian and breast cancer.

Women should be aware of their higher risk for both breast and ovarian cancer if they have a personal or family history of either disease, especially if it was discovered before the age of 50. The risk of developing ovarian cancer is twice as high for women who have had breast cancer before the age of 50 as for those who have not. Furthermore, colorectal and uterine cancers have been connected to ovarian cancer through unique genes.

10. Does ovarian cancer cause constipation?

One of the most common symptoms of ovarian cancer is constipation. If the first treatments you try are ineffective in relieving your new constipation, you should be quite concerned. Additionally, patients may have diarrhea, upset stomachs, and other digestive issues.

It’s critical to monitor any changes in your bowel routine. The developing tumor could have an impact on surrounding organs, including the colon, causing certain gastrointestinal problems.

11. Does ovarian cancer cause diarrhea?

Yes, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and bloating are three of the most typical signs of ovarian cancer. Additionally, they’re among the simplest to overlook. Maybe that’s because they can also indicate an array of other illnesses, such as stomach viruses, indigestion, and even the cramps that often coincide with a woman’s menstrual cycle.

12. Does ovarian cancer cause hair loss?

Your body may physically change as a result of ovarian cancer treatment, which may have an impact on your self-esteem. Hormonal fluctuations, fatigue, and hair loss are examples of physical changes.

13. Can males get ovarian cancer?

You have a small chance of developing ovarian cancer if you’re a transgender man and you still have your ovaries. That is independent of testosterone use. Additionally, there’s a chance that your risk of developing ovarian cancer differs slightly from that of other ovaries. Furthermore, you may find it more difficult than someone who identifies as a woman to receive an early diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

14. What are the strategies that can be followed after ovarian cancer treatment?

Encouraging ovarian cancer patients to recover as much as possible from their disease requires an integrated approach that takes into account their physical, emotional, and psychosocial requirements as they progress through therapy. Key tactics include creating individualized treatment plans based on each patient’s unique characteristics, giving patients access to full rehabilitation services to enhance their quality of life and physical function, creating a supportive environment through counseling and support groups, and empowering patients with knowledge and tools to control side effects of treatment and advance their general health. The efficiency of rehabilitation initiatives can also be improved by guaranteeing smooth coordination and communication between healthcare professionals and incorporating patients in joint decision-making.

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Tanya Bose

Tanya Bose is a medical content writer with expert knowledge in Biotechnology. She has received her graduation and post-graduation qualifications from Amity University. Her extensive understanding of medical science enables her to effectively and concisely convey novel ideas in posts, blogs, and articles, making them understandable to the intended readers.

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