Ovarian cancer affects more than 21,000 women in the US every year. Close to 15,000 deaths are reported every year due to ovarian cancer. Though it accounts for only a small percentage of all the cancers that kill women, the death rate is significant enough for us to take note and be alert for the symptoms.
Unfortunately, the symptoms associated with ovarian cancer are ever so elusive that most women are bewildered and led to believe that it is just a case of indigestion or gas.
Things soon grow out of proportion and when the symptoms trouble you increasingly, it would be too late already. Most cases of ovarian cancer are therefore diagnosed in the advanced stages when women just hang on a noose waiting to be pulled to death any time.
First Line Treatments Method For Ovarian Cancer
The fist line treatment normally adopted for ovarian cancer is surgical intervention where the affected ovaries and surrounding tissues are completely eliminated from the body in an attempt to contain the spread.
However, a surgery is considered as a definite treatment only when the woman has passed her reproductive age (which is mostly the case as ovarian cancer occurs mostly in women after the age of 50) and no longer requires her ovaries and other reproductive organs for conception. However, for younger women, the doctor would try to save the reproductive organs if possible.
Ovarian cancer is of three types, namely epithelial cell cancers, stomal cell cancers and germ cell cancers. All these cancers are equally dangerous and pose the threat of a recurrence any time after the first attack. Surgical removal of the ovaries and near lying tissues will reduce the possibility of a recurrence and increase the life expectancy of the woman.
This may not be true for all women, especially if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and metastasised to other areas of the body. Physical removal of the tumour is one of the best ways to stop spreading and recurrence. Surgery is also suggested when the tumour is too big, i.e. more than a centimetre so that the chances of survival increase tremendously.
The Surgical Procedure
During the surgical process, the affected ovaries, fallopian tubes and the uterus are removed. This will then be sent for biopsy to study the extent of the cancer. Further treatment methods will be based on the lab reports. For younger women who are in the early stages of ovarian cancer, only the affected ovary and the fallopian tube connected to it will be removed to retain part of her fertility.
During the surgical process of removing the ovaries, the doctor will also remove the fatty tissue that is situated inside the stomach, known as omentum. This is to analyse whether the cancer has spread to the abdominal region as well.
For women who are in the second and third stages of cancer, the surgical procedure will be followed by chemotherapy and radiation treatment as in these stages, cancer would have spread to the lymph nodes and other areas.