Ovarian cancer starts when the cells constitute the ovaries which includes the surface epithelial cells, sex cord-stromal cells and the germ cells. Ovarian cancer is rated fourth as a cause of deaths from cancer. Often times it’s too late to fight since it’s not diagnosed until it’s in an advanced stage. Risk factors include:
1. If someone in your history has had breast, ovarian, endometrial, colon or prostate cancer.
2. Getting older.
3. Unknown infertility, unknown history of using a birth control and no pregnancies.
4. Using high dose estrogen for long periods at a time without progesterone can be a risk factor
5. If you live in an industrialized country or are of North European, North American and or Ashkenazi Jewish background.
Some symptoms of ovarian cancer are:
1. Constipation urinary frequency, and/or incontinence, gas, indigestion, and/or nausea.
2. Unexplainable weight loss or weight gain.
3. Pain and or bloating in the pelvic and abdominal area.
5. A constant feeling of being full.
6. Post-menopausal bleeding and pain during intercourse.
There are many treatment options to choose from.
Surgery- The surgeon does an insertion into the abdominal just enough to see where the cancerous tissue is and remove it. One of the terms used to describe this procedure is :debulking. In which one of both ovaries are removed, along with fallopian tubes and the uterus. Another surgery is: Laparotomy. This is a surgery that uses fiberoptic scopes and tubes. The opening in the abdominal is less with this surgery.
Radiation therapy- A rare form of treatment in the US where high energy rays shrink and kill the cancerous cells.
Chemotherapy- A common treatment where drugs can destroy ovarian cancer cells by stopping their reproduction and growth. The drugs are given by mouth or injection. Side effects include: hair loss, mouth sores, nausea and vomiting.
Biotherapy / Immunotherapy- A treatment to use the power of your own immune system either directly or indirectly fights the ovarian cancer.
There are also unconventional and alternative medicines out there for ovarian cancer. Such treatments are under the category
Clinical Nutrition : Diet, natural hygiene, cleaning and other nutritional supplements.
Botanical Medicine: Drugs derived from plants that may be able to help with several problems at once.
Physical Medicine: Manipulating muscles, bones, and spine using an ultrasound for deep heat along with water, exercise, massage, general electrical therapy and heat/cold.
Oriental Medicine: Acupuncture can help to stimulate the body’s immune system and help the healing response.
Psychological Medicine: Mental and emotional states and attitudes may influence or even cause illness. Stress management, nutrition counseling and other forms to help heal the patient psychologically.
Homeopathic Medicine- Medical substances using the components of bodily tissues for the repair of tissues and maintenance of life.
While visiting the doctor, it’s a good idea to ask:
What are your options?
What are the common side effects with the treatments and what you can do about it?
What stage is your cancer?
How do your other health conditions affect your cancer treatment?
How often should you have CA 125?
Should you ask for another opinion regarding your options?
How will your cancer diagnose affect your family?
Should you have second-look surgery?
There are many organizations out there to help with support. A few are: National Cancer Institution, Medicinenet, Cancernet and Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. There are many ways you can help support such as ordering teal ribbon checks, teal ribbon jelly bracelets and the petition for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Postage Stamp project.