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Ovarian cancer

Ovarian Cancer

 The incidence rate of ovarian cancer is not as high as that of cervical cancer; however, ovarian cancer causes much more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive organs.  Unlike for cervical cancer, there is no standard, routine screening examination to detect ovarian cancer in its early stage, but a thorough pelvic exam can diagnose it, even if there are no telling symptoms yet. There is no lab test or imaging that is able to detect ovarian cancer with 100% frequency in its early stages.

It most frequently appears after menopause, when the ovaries stop producing eggs and female hormones. The number and time of childbearing has been closely related to the occurrence of ovarian cancer; women who prolong childbearing until their 30s, who have no or few children and overweight women are said to have a higher risk.  In any case, the earlier the ovarian cancer treatment is started, the higher the chances of survival are. Overall survival rates in the following 5 years are an estimated 40%.


Types of Ovarian Cancer

There are over 30 types of ovarian cancer categorized according to the type of cell they initiate in. The following ovarian cells can be affected by numerous abnormal growths:

  1. Epithelial tumors – These types of ovarian cancers develop from the lining of the ovaries. They can be benign adenomas or cancerous epithelial carcinomas, which is the most dangerous ovarian condition.
  2. Germ cell tumors – Germ cells are responsible for producing eggs. Most germ cell malignancies occur in young women, but the majority responds positively to ovarian cancer treatment.
  3. Stromal tumor – These types of ovarian cancer develop in the connective cells of the ovaries where the female hormones are produced.

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

Unfortunately, symptoms can be interpreted as signs of other conditions, so very often by the time ovarian cancer is detected, it has reached metastasis. Frequent symptoms are:

  • Bloating, other digestive discomforts, loss of appetite, feeling full quickly
  • Diarrhea, vomiting
  • Frequent, increased urge to urinate
  • Pelvic pain
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Weight loss

Ovarian Cancer Treatment

The best treatment option always depends on the types of ovarian cancer and the stage the illness is diagnosed in. Ovarian cancer treatment has two main objectives: cure the cancer and improve the patients’ quality of life.

In most cases ovarian cancer surgery is performed either to take biopsy or to remove as much of the cancerous growth as possible along with the affected organs. Total or partial hysterectomy may be performed depending on the areas the cancer has spread. Ovarian cancer surgery almost always implies the removal of the ovaries, which results in symptoms of menopause and the loss of ability to have children.

In advanced cases and after the ovarian cancer surgery, intravenous chemotherapy or radiotherapy (less frequently) may be administered to complement the treatment. It may be aimed to destroy all the remaining cancer cells after surgery or to increase the life span of advanced-stage ovarian cancer patients.


Treating Ovarian Cancer Abroad

For cost-saving or technological reasons a growing number of patients are seeking world-class ovarian cancer treatment abroad. Internationally accredited hospitals in Mexico, Turkey or India offer top-notch oncologic centers, supplied with high-tech apparatus and acclaimed medical personnel at an accessible price. Medical tourists can even participate in clinical trials abroad, to be beneficiaries of the latest and most promising research on cancer treatment.