Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer among women, requiring special attention. An early diagnosis will be essential: the earlier the detection, the higher the chance of treating it successfully. After the treatment of removal of the tumor masses will be necessary periodic checks, in order to control and avoid the possible appearance of new tumors.
Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer
There is currently no evidence to detect early ovarian cancer, as well as breast cancer, by mammography. Therefore, the early detection happens to consult a specialist without delay before the appearance of symptoms that may make suspicion of tumor in an ovary.
There are three symptoms that deserve special medical attention if they persist for a few weeks and have no apparent explanation:
- Increased abdominal perimeter
- Changes in bowel rhythm (tendency to constipation or diarrhea)
- Heavy digestions
As the symptoms are due to digestive disorders , the patient should go to a specialist in the digestive system. If there is no digestive pathology in the examination that explains the symptoms, an urgent consultation with a gynecologist will be necessary to check whether ovarian cancer is due or not. The earlier the detection of ovarian cancer, the higher the chance of successful treatment.
Women who have a history of breast or ovary cancer in first- or second-degree relatives (mother, sisters, daughters, grandmothers and aunts) may benefit from a consultation with the Genetic Counseling Unit to assess whether there is a high risk Of ovarian cancer and thus decide with the specialists what measures can be taken to reduce the risk.
Rapid Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer
To diagnose ovarian cancer begins with an abdominal ultrasound and transvaginal that allows visualizing the ovaries and observe the possible appearance of some suspicious tumor mass.
Also, a blood analysis provides additional information, since it shows if there is any altered parameter indicating the presence of tumor.
In cases where the ultrasound and the blood test confirm the suspicion of cancer, it is necessary to perform a biopsy, which consists of extracting a sample of cells of the possible tumor to analyze them. This biopsy, which is performed by laparoscopy, will confirm or rule out the presence of ovarian cancer.
The rapid diagnostic circuit allows the average time between the first consultation for suspicion of ovarian cancer and the start of treatment to be reduced to one week.
Personalized treatment to treat and remove ovarian cancer
The treatment of ovarian cancer is based on the surgical removal of all tumor masses that may be in the abdomen, accompanied, in most cases, with a treatment with chemotherapy that lasts four months.
In the intervention it is necessary to remove:
- the ovaries
- The uterus
- Pelvic and paraaortic ganglia
- The omentum (accumulation of abdominal fat prone to harbor small tumor masses)
- The tumor implants that may be present in the peritoneum
It is a complex surgery with an average duration of six hours, so it has to be carried out by a surgeon specialized in medical oncology and in this type of intervention.
When the treatment is completed, the patient's progress is monitored through periodic oncological examinations: every three months during the first three years and every six months during the fourth and fifth year. Such reviews include an imaging test for the pelvic and abdominal area, as well as a thorough blood test to verify that no new tumors have appeared.
It should be noted that oncology reviews should be supplemented with gynecological examinations every six months during the first five years by an oncology gynecologist to explore the affected area.