Ovarian cancer is one of the common causes of deaths due to cancer across our country. It refers to the malignant or cancerous growth that begins in the ovaries.
Most symptoms of ovarian cancer begin to appear in the epithelium or the outer lining of the ovary. The early stages of this type of cancer resemble the conditions such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or some other kind of bladder problem. The main difference between these early symptoms of other conditions and ovarian cancer is their persistence and signs of gradual worsening.
The doctors will diagnose and perform series of medical examinations that will confirm if the person is suffering from ovarian cancer and the progression of its stage.
Following are some treatment options based on the stage of ovarian cancer.
The surgical procedure of ovarian cancer has two main goals. The first one is to determine the stage of cancer and remove the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes if necessary. It also involves removing of omentum, which is a fatty tissue that covers abdominal contents. The symptoms of ovarian cancer can sometimes spread to this tissue. The other important goal of surgery is to remove the maximum growth of the tumor. This is called as debulking.
This form of therapy is a systemic treatment in which the medication is given intravenously so that it reaches all the parts of the body through the bloodstream. Chemotherapy is beneficial for ovarian cancers that have metastasized. Chemotherapy is a treatment that has the maximum collateral damage.
Radiation or radiotherapy involves use of high-energy X-rays that kill cancer cells. In this procedure, X-rays are incident on the affected area of the body. The beam kills malignant cells by burning them. The treatment is given five days a week and lasts for several days.
- Targeted therapy
A newer type of therapy, targeted therapy uses medicines or other substances that identify and attack cancer cells, while doing little or no damage to normal cells. Each type of medicines used in targeted therapy works differently but aims to alter the way malignant (cancerous) cells grow, divide, replicate, and interact with other cells.
The common side effects of the therapies mentioned above include weight loss, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, weak immune system, mouth sores, and skin rashes. Discuss these side effects with your oncologist as they will prescribe you with medications to provide relief from the same.
Survival rates of ovarian cancer
The survival rate completely depends on the stage of the cancer. The survival rate of ovarian cancer depends on three types of tumors, epithelial, stromal, and germ cell. It has around five-year survival rate. Early detection of ovarian cancer increases the survival rate of the patient and makes the prognosis comparatively easy.
The survival rate of ovarian cancer is highest in younger women and it decreases with the age. The average survival rate in women aged from 15 to 39 years is around 80 percent, while for 60 to 80 years old women, the survival rate is around 30 percent.