Ovarian cancer is one of the most widely diagnosed forms of cancer in women today. It is not only a fatal cancer form, but also very difficult to diagnose and this is the basic reason that most women diagnosed with ovarian cancer lose their life in the battle.
Understanding ovarian cancer, learning about the ovarian cancer symptoms and the possible treatments is very essential today, especially if you wish to live a long and healthy life with your loved ones. Here is a brief about ovarian cancer and its symptoms that you should keep a check on, for your healthy life.
Ovaries are the most essential part of the female reproductive system. Size of an almond, they release the female hormones namely, estrogen and progesterone. Also, the ovaries release eggs that travel away through the fallopian tube and settle in the uterus of a woman. These eggs when get fertilized with a sperm, they form a fetus which grows into a baby. W hen a woman passes through her menopause, the ovaries stop producing the eggs and decrease the release of the female hormones and slowly shrink.
Ovarian cancer is the cancer of ovaries. It develops in the ovaries and remains undetected for a long time period until it spreads into the pelvis and also the abdomen of the patient. Once the cancer spreads into the pelvis and the abdomen, it is termed as the last stage of ovarian cancer and treating it in such a critical condition is nearly impossible. Thus, it is extremely vital to understand the ovarian cancer symptoms and detect them within the right time to fight against ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer symptoms
The early symptoms of ovarian cancer are not very specific to the disease. They are similar to other health conditions mostly related with urinary bladder problems and the digestive system. As a result, detecting ovarian cancer is extremely tricky.
When a patient suffers from ovarian cancer, the ovarian cancer symptoms remain persistent and worsen with the passing time. These symptoms include:
- Swelling or bloating in stomach
- Abdominal pressure and feeling of fullness without eating much
- Persistent indigestion
- Digestion problems such as gas and nausea
- Change in your bowel habits, particularly constipation
- Problems with your urinary bladder, need to urinate frequently
- Loss of appetite and feeling full
- Persistent lack of energy
- Lower back pain
- Weight increase only in your abdominal area. Clothes fitting tighter to your waist.
- Pain in your pelvis or abdomen
If you suffer from any one or more of these ovarian cancer symptoms at least 2 times in a week, it is important that you call your doctor and undergo a checkup soon. However, these symptoms are very common in women and they do not usually indicate ovarian cancer. They may feel the same symptoms during menstrual cycles as well. But, if these ovarian cancer symptoms follow a specific pattern, such as mentioned below, it is time you take the symptoms seriously and visit a doctor:
- They commence suddenly
- They are not similar to the cramps or pain you suffer during menstruation or digestive problems
- They occur nearly every day and don’t seem to fade away
Other less common ovarian cancer symptoms:
- Pain during intercourse
- Back pain
- Change in the menstrual cycle
These above mentioned symptoms are common in most women, but they do not always indicate that you have ovarian cancer. However, if you suffer from any of these symptoms, it is essential that you get yourself checked for ovarian cancer. The same symptoms also indicate other health problems, so don’t get stresses and simply visit your doctor with your queries.
Also, usually these symptoms of the ovarian cancer do not seem very serious for a woman to visit a doctor or undergo medical tests. But, avoiding check-ups may also delay your treatment if you are seriously suffering from ovarian cancer. Once you visit your doctor, you will be put on a watchful waiting period. During this time, both you and your doctor will observe the symptoms that you suffer and whether they direct to ovarian cancer.
Whom to see for ovarian cancer?
In order to confirm your condition, you may visit any medical professional. For instance, you may visit the following:
- Medical nurse
- Family physician
- Arrange a private ultrasound scan
Based on the ovarian cancer symptoms, the diagnosis can be done through a couple of tests such as physical examination, pelvic exam, blood tests, ultrasound, and biopsy. Based on these test results and the ovarian cancer symptoms you suffer from, ovarian cancer can be diagnosed easily in a patient.
Once diagnosed with ovarian cancer, you will be treated by Gynecologist oncologist and a medical oncologist. Your condition can improve when you are treated regularly by an experienced gynaecologist oncologist. They can help you get the best treatment and also cure the disease with initial surgery.
Local therapy (surgery and radiation treatment for removing ovarian cancer), intraperitoneal chemotherapy (chemotherapy only for abdomen and pelvis) and systemic chemotherapy (chemotherapy injected through mouth or vein to destroy cancer cells in the body) are some of the treatment methods that are followed for treating ovarian cancer.
Can Ultrasound Diagnose Ovarian Cancer?
A pelvic ultrasound scan will be one of the primary tests in the diagnosis and monitoring of ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer can be clearly seen in a transabdominal or transvaginal ultrasound scan.