OVARIAN CANCER DAY 2021

WORLD OVARIAN CANCER DAY 2021 –  ‘I Am and I Will’

Celebrated on May 8th every year , this day is observed to  spread awareness of the disease and struggles of patients suffering  from Ovarian cancer. 

HISTORY

Established in 2013 by a group of people from Ovarian Cancer Advocacy Organizations it is one day of the year to join hands globally to raise voices in solidarity to  fight against ovarian cancer.  It is  represented by the  Teal coloured ribbon.

 

WHAT IS OVARIAN CANCER

Ovarian cancer starts in ovaries or in the fallopian tube .This cancer is most common in elderly women and often isn’t detected until it starts to spread outside the ovaries and makes it hard to diagnose.

There are three common types of cells/tumor  that cause cancer in ovaries

1. Surface epithelium cells

2. Germ cells

3. Stromal cells .

The tumor can be classified as

*Benign tumors – considered non-threatening.

*Low malignant potential –  seen in younger women,considered cancerous and grow slowly.

*Malignant tumors – cancerous and therefore dangerous.

SYMPTOMS OF OVARIAN CANCER

Often a silent killer because by the time one suspects , the disease has spread. Most of the time it is easily confused as a stomach pain. The  most common symptoms of ovarian cancer include

1. Vaginal bleeding or discharge

2. Pelvic pain or pressure

3. Stomach or back pain

4. Bloating

5. Feeling full after meals

6. Needing to urinate more or less frequently

HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED ?

Firstly a clinical examination is done by a health professional who investigates the patients body for any signs of the disease. Patient’s medical history is important to understand risk factors,including family history

1.Pap smear – diagnostic test that can detect any cancer associated with female reproductive system. It does not screen for ovarian cancer rather helps to detect it. Getting a pap smear every 3 years is vital to detect ovarian cancer.

2.Imaging tests – diagnostic procedure that involves taking pictures of inside the body to detect the pelvic mass and see the spread of cancer cells .

Few commonly used imaging techniques are :

* Ultrasound – a technique that uses the sound waves to create an image on screen. The probe is placed on the abdomen or in vagina, and  transducer sends sound waves and picks up the echoes that bounce on organs to create an image which is studied  to check if the abnormality present is a solid mass (tumor).

*CT scans – it is a type of X ray that helps to detect if the cancer is spread to other parts by taking a cross- sectional images of the body.

* MRI scans – A contrast material (Gadolinium) is injected into the  vein of the patient before the scan to see THE finding if cancer has spread to other organs by making detailed cross-sectional images OF PELVIS

COMMON TREATMENT FOR OVARIAN CANCER

SURGERY : It is the primary stage of treatment . Once the cancer is diagnosed, the affected organs are removed depending on if the patient wants to become pregnant in the future.

The fertility preservation surgeries are opted majority of the cases, which include sparing the uterus and unaffected ovary and removing only the affected ovary with the tumor (along with the removal of lymph nodes and omentum). Mostly a biopsy along with laparoscopic surgery is preformed

In the case of second, third, and fourth stages, the surgery may include the removal of the entire uterus, the ovaries and the fallopian tubes, omentum, and removal of the tissue seeing the cancer spread .

CHEMOTHERAPY : If cancer spreads to the nodes or omentum, further adjuvant chemotherapy is needed following the surgery. The chemo medication can be given to the patient intravenously or through the abdomen.

  • The surface epithelial ovarian tumors are less harmful epithelial (benign & borderline) tumours are cured by surgery.
  • The recurrent cancers are again treated by surgery if feasible or by chemotherapy.
  • The rare ovarian stromal tumours are slow-growing in nature and the majority of them are treated by surgery alone, only a few cases may need adjuvant chemotherapy.

Technological advancements in the last few years have increased the knowledge of the mechanisms involved in a host of biological activities related to ovarian cancer. Understanding the role these mechanisms play in cancer initiation and progression will help lead to the development of prevention and treatment, that can be personalized to each patient, thereby helping to overcome this highly-fatal malignancy.

 

Report by ,

Ms.Malavika Jaikeshen

Lecturer , Allied Health Sciences 

 

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