4. Ovarian Cancer Symptoms
Signs of ovarian cancer are similar to those of an ovarian cyst. Early signs of ovarian cancer may include bloating, abdominal pain, feelings of pressure or fullness in the abdomen, and frequent urination. These symptoms tend to be more severe or more persistent than those related to ovarian cysts. Other symptoms may include extreme fatigue or weariness, indigestion, back pain, and painful sex. Changes in your menstrual cycle, such as unusually heavy bleeding or new irregularities in your period can be an indication of ovarian cancer. It is critical to contact your physician if you experience such symptoms.
3. Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis
Yearly pelvic exams allow your doctor to check the size and shape of your uterus and note any changes or abnormalities. Unfortunately, ovarian cysts are often undetectable. If you experience symptoms of ovarian cancer, your doctor will start out by taking your history. Your physician will probably utilize imaging tests such as ultrasounds or CT scans to visualize your ovaries. Additionally, your doctor may order blood tests to check your blood counts and look for tumor markers. A biopsy taken during surgery can definitively diagnose this condition.
2. Ovarian Cancer Treatment
Some ovarian cancers are susceptible to local treatments, such as surgical removal or radiation. Others may require systemic treatment such as chemotherapy, hormone or hormone-blocking therapies, or targeted therapies. The American Cancer Society points out the differences between traditional chemotherapy and targeted therapies. The difference is that the targeted therapies do not attack normal, healthy cells as well as cancerous ones. Bevacizumab is a therapy that starves ovarian cancer tumors by affecting their blood supply. Meanwhile, PARP-inhibitors such as olaparib interfere with the DNA in ovarian cancer cells.
1. Ovarian Cancer Prognosis
As with any type of cancer, early intervention increases your long-term survival rate. According to the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance, around 46% of women with ovarian cancer are alive five years following their diagnosis. When the cancer is caught in the earliest stages, before it has had a chance to spread, that number increases to around 90%. Younger women typically have a better survival rate than those diagnosed after the age of 65. Visiting your gynecologist on a yearly basis and paying attention to warning signs can help you catch signs of cancer early.Related: 9 Symptoms That Could Be Warning Women of Cancer