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Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is one of the most common cancers diagnosed in elderly females. It is normally a silent disease and its most common symptom is the enlargement of the abdomen due to ascites (malignant fluid in the ABD) & ovarian masses. If not detected in its initial stage the disease affects its surrounding organs like uterus, intestines & may even spread to lymph nodes, liver & lungs.

Chemotherapy & surgery are the cornerstones for its treatment. Chemo is not only effective in controlling the disease but also eliminating the disease to such an extent that it can be surgically removed.

Surgery usually involves removal of both the ovaries, uterus, lymph nodes, omentum & appendix or the intestinal part if required

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Cancer is defined as uncontrolled, progressive increase in the mass of cells. It destroys the surrounding structures of the host. The cancer Cells do not behave like normal cells and become autonomous.

  • Tobacco (cigarette, bidi, hookah, surti, pan masala, khaini, etc.)
  • Alcohol - Westernised Lifestyle
  • Obesity – Viruses & Genetic
  • Environmental pollutants and Pesticides

So simple changes in our lifestyle can prevent cancer

Warning signs of cancer can be remembered by the word ‘CAUTION’

C - Change in bowel or bladder habits
A - A wound that does not heal
U -  Unusual bleeding and discharge from the body
T - Thickening or mass in the body
I – Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing
O – Obvious change in the mole or wart
N – Nagging cough or hoarseness of voice

Males: Cancers of Prostate, Lung, Head and Neck, Food pipe and stomach.

Females: Cancers of Breast, Cervix, Ovary, and Gall Bladder.

There is no single test which can detect all type of cancers. Most of the solid cancers are diagnosed by FNAC or BIOPSY. X-rays, Ultrasounds, CT scans, MRI, PET scan, Tumor markers are helpful in diagnosing and staging cancers.

In developing countries like India, only 10- 20 % of patients reach the cancer specialist in stage I and II. Sadly 70-80% of cancer patients present to the cancer specialist in Stage III and IV when not only the treatment is costlier but also less effective.

Cancer can be treated by surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or by the combination of these three modalities. 80-90 % of cancers are solid tumors and hence surgery is the main stay of treatment in these cancers.

Partial success has been obtained in this direction. Recently vaccination against cervical cancers caused by the herpes virus has shown promising results.