Ovarian Cancer

August 26, 2011 at 12:45 pm Leave a comment

Ovarian cancer is the cancer that affects the ovaries, the female reproductive system. This is one of the deadliest cancers but it has a 94 % survival rate if caught early. Ovarian cancer is the 5th most common cancer among women. The cause of ovarian cancer is unknown but what they do know is that the earlier the woman has kids the lower her ovarian cancer risk is. Taking estrogen (not progesterone) replacements for 5years have a higher risk than other women.

 

The symptoms of ovarian cancer:

Take note that most of the ovarian cancer symptoms seem like other illnesses indicators. go see a doctor when any of these signs persists for a few weeks on a daily basis.

– Bloating

– Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly.

– Pelvic or abdominal pain

– Abnormal menstrual cycles

– Constipation

– Increased gas

– Indigestion

– Nausea or vomiting

– Sense of pelvic heaviness

– Swollen abdomen or belly

– Unexplained back pain that worsens over time

– Vaginal bleeding

– Vague lower abdominal discomfort

– Weight gain or loss

 

Since many of its symptoms collide with other illnesses symptoms, it’s often diagnosed in late stages where treatment can’t do much anymore. Its the “silent killer”. To be able to diagnose ovarian cancer earlier better screening tests are needed.These tests should be:

– Sensitive: meaning it’s got to be able to identify the cancer early, so there’s a low likelihood of false positives.

– Specific: It must find any existing cancer, minimizing false negatives.

– Affordable: so that women can take it often enough to catch these fast-growing tumors.

– Safe: And above all, it has to have incontrovertible clinical evidence that it saves lives–enough lives to be worth the time and money it will require from women, doctors, and insurers: Otherwise doctors won’t recommend it and insurers won’t cover it.

Here are some screening tests which could be efficient.

1- Transvaginal Ultrasound (TVU)

* How it works: Your doctor inserts a probe in your vagina to get a detailed image of your ovaries. If there’s a mass, TVU (also called transvaginal sonography, or TVS) will find it. That’s why it’s already used as a diagnostic tool to help rule out or confirm ovarian cancer in women who have symptoms or significant risk factors. But right now, it’s not used as a standard screening test for all women in the way that mammograms are, despite the fact that no other reliable method of finding an ovarian tumor early exists. And unless it is approved for routine use by all women, insurance companies won’t pay for it and many doctors won’t suggest it for screening purposes.

2- A Better Blood Test:

A blood test called CA-125 is already being used to see if women with ovarian cancer are responding to chemotherapy or if their cancers have come back. Researchers are exploring whether the test–which measures certain protein (biomarker) levels that become elevated when ovarian cancer is present–could be used for routine screening. But CA-125 can rise in women for many reasons other than ovarian cancer, including benign tumors, endometriosis, fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, hepatitis, and breast cancer. And CA-125, like He-4 (another biomarker being studied), doesn’t always spike if a woman has Stage I or II ovarian cancer. Some researchers are investigating whether combining the two biomarker tests may give a more accurate result. If they’re successful, the end product may be affordable too: Each test currently costs somewhere between $29 and $138.

 

3-  TVU Plus a Better Blood Test

Researchers at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center recently showed that a careful combination of a yearly blood test with a TVU chaser if the biomarker levels rise could hold promise. For 8 years, Karen Lu, MD, a professor of gynecologic oncology, studied 3,238 women age 50 and older, using an approach called the Risk of Ovarian Cancer Algorithm (ROCA ), which has established normal, intermediate, and high-risk biomarker CA-125 levels. A woman with normal levels continues to receive an annual CA-125 test. If her biomarker climbs into the intermediate risk range, she gets a follow-up CA-125 test 3 months later; if it’s in the high-risk range, she’s given a TVU.

Dr. Lu’s study is a smaller version of a major United Kingdom project that may answer the question, once and for all, of whether ROCA can save women’s lives. Called the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening, the study is massive–researchers are following 202,638 postmenopausal women. If the results, due to be reported in 2014, show that ROCA is reliably accurate, this might be the answer we need.

 

 

 

 

 

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Entry filed under: Health.

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