Ovarian Cancer- Diagnosis
ovarian cancer is difficult to detect because the ovaries are not only
surrounded by tissue but also found deep in the pelvic cavity. Not
only this, but the symptoms of ovarian cancer are fairly similar to regular
abdominal pain which in many cases lead patients to believe that nothing
is wrong with them. Many women experience bloating and abdominal
pain which is why they tend to overlook the possibilty of their symptoms
being more serious than menstrual cycle side effects. Since the early
symptoms of ovarian cancer are so common the patient neglects to see the
doctor about their problems until it spreads to the abdomen. Statistics
say that only 25% of patients detect their cancer within the early stages
leaving the vast population of ovarian cancer patients discovering their
cancer in the regional stage.
There are basically
two ways for a doctor to determine whether or not a patient has cancer.
The first way is through a surgery called a biopsy, also known as exploratory
laparotomy. In a biopsy, the doctor takes a sample piece of tissue
from the patients body and later examines under the microscope. This
way, the doctor is able to tell whether or not the cancer is present within
the patient. The second exploratory method is called, laparoscopy.
Laparoscopy is a small incision made in the stomach. A hollow tube
is placed inside the incision of the abdomen in which the doctor is able
to make a further diagnosis. The doctor is required to run several
tests before performing either exploratory methods. They include
this includes a pelvic exam where the doctor is able to feel around your
pelvis in order to find any irregular cysts or growths in the pelvic
X-ray of the body
Creates an image called a sonogram which is used to determine whether the
growth is a cyst.
Check the cervix for any cancerous cells.
Color Doppler Imaging-
Another form of ultrasound but this kind is more targeted toward blood
flow of the ovaries.
CA-125 or CA-125 II Assay-
A tumor marker.
Diagnosis- Main Points to
Early diagnosis is a crucial step in
increasing an ovarian cancer patients survival rate.
Ninety percent of the ovarian cancer
patients detect their tumor or cyst within the first five years.
Seventy-five percent of the ovarian
cancer population are diagnosed when regional or distant spread of the
disease is present.
Diagnosis is difficult because the
ovaries are so deeply hidden in the pelvic cavity surrounded by tissue
Symptoms oftentimes do not arise until
the tumor has enlarged.
Detection is so difficult to pinpoint
because the symptoms tend to be vague and many women find the pain to be
tolerable and therefore avoid seeing the doctor.
Symptoms include all of the following:
pelvic pain, abdominal discomfort, lower back pain, constant bloating,
frequent urination, digestive problems including a loss of appetite, gas,
Vomiting and significant weight-loss
are also significant signs in detection.
There are three
options for treating ovarian cancer; surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.
Surgery is used when the cancer cells are present within the tissue.
The surgeon simply removes all the cancerous tissue and any tissue surrounding
it that may have been infected by it. This style of treatment is
only really used in the early stages of diagnosis. This is true because
when the cancer has spread, it is extremely difficult for the surgeon to
locate and remove all the cacerous tissue. Surgery is considered
the primary method because it the most common solution in dealing with
is used when the cancer has reached a more severe stage and it has spread
throughout the abdomen in several areas. Radiation therapy can be
given through external beam radiation which done through an X-ray or
through intraperitoneal radiation therapy. Intraperitoneal therapy
is done basically through an application into the pelvic and abdominal
cavities of a liquid which contains radioactive phosphorus. The liquid
coats all the affected areas and hopefully kills of the cancer cells.
is the aftermath treatment of surgery. Chemotherapy uses drugs to
kill off any unwanted cancer cells left after surgery. These drugs
are given either directly through a vein or by placing the drugs directly
into the pelvic and abdominal cavity.