Ovarian Cancer

by Carol Gomes

Ovarian cancer is a disease accompanied by the abnormal proliferation of the ovarian cells, resulting in tumors. Occurrence of ovarian cancer is visualized in one or both the ovaries. Ovaries in women produce ova or egg and sex hormones, namely estrogen and progesterone. Early detection is difficult, due to lack of symptoms, though, is helpful in necessary treatment. Urgency to urinate, pelvic pain and swelling or bloating due to abdominal pressure are common symptoms of ovarian cancer.

Typical ovarian cancer symptoms imitate bladder and digestive disorders. back pain, fatigue, anorexia nervosa, nausea, flatulence, pain during intercourse, increased frequency of urination, diarrhea or constipation and weight loss or gain are also seen. Diagnosis helps in detection of the cancer as early as, three to six months. Surgery and chemotherapy is used in combination for ovarian cancer treatment. Surgical removal of the affected ovary is done. Infertility is a result of such procedures. Ovarian cancer also results in removal of fallopian tubes, ovary, lymph nodes, uterus and omentum, which is a fold of fatty abdominal tissue. Surgical debulking involves the removal of cancer from the abdomen.

Post surgery, a minimal part of the tumor, remains in the cavity, referred to as optimal debulking. Surgery is succeeded by chemotherapy, which, in turn kills the remnant carcinogenic cells. The best and most successful combination remains to be carboplatin and paclitaxel. Women suffering from advanced stages of ovarian cancer are responding in an optimistic manner to a combination of standard intravenous chemotherapy and chemotherapy injected directly by using a catheter into the abdomen. The unreachable carcinogenic cells are attacked intravenously. Six rounds of both the therapy are involved and side effects include nausea, vomiting, infection and abdominal pain. The above mentioned symptoms result in discontinuation of the treatment, due to lack of forbearance.

Vaccines, gene therapy and innovative chemotherapy drugs are other forms of treatment that are ventured into. Gene mutation in cancer has led to the development of new drugs. The cause behind the incidence of ovarian cancer is being researched. But, their distribution in the blood stream or lymph seldom occurs. They affect the surrounding tissues and the pelvis and abdomen. Based on the place of occurrence, ovarian cancer is categorized into three, namely, germ cell tumor, epithelial tumor and stromal tumors. Germ cell tumor is seen in the egg producing cells of young women. Epithelial tumors occur in the epithelial layer of the ovaries, especially in the post menopausal stage, whereas stromal tumors are seen to occur in the tissue that synthesizes the estrogen and progesterone.

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