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Ovarian Cancer Treatment Benefits And Risks

Posted Feb 21 2010 2:24pm


Obviously if malignant ovarian cancer has been detected in your body, you will want to seek medical treatment fast. Hold on though, and do a little research into ovarian cancer treatment, talk the options over with your doctor. Discover what the benefits and risks are for each treatment before you and your doctor decide on a course of action. Your treatment plan should take all factors into consideration such as the stage of cancer, and your age, reproductive status and other health but the risks and benefits of the proposed treatment. Women faced with the devastating news of cancer, often go on autopilot, letting the doctor make all the decisions about their treatment, and do not ask important questions. This is your body; ask questions about what the benefits are for each method of treatment and what the risks are for each treatment. Ask about alternatives and prognosis and how the treatment will affect the prognosis.

Treatment and early detection:

The sad truth is that treatment works better on women with ovarian cancer when the cancer is detected early. The problem is that with ovarian cancer there is usually no signs or symptoms in the early stage of the disease. Usually cancer symptoms start being detectable at the time that it is spreading to other parts of the body. Once the cancer has spread the treatment is more complex. Tests such as routine pap smears, pelvic exams, rectal screening, ultrasound, x-ray and laparoscopy are used to help doctors detect tumors. Approximately 75% of women with ovarian cancer are not treated in the early stage. When detected in the early stage treatment is started immediately and these women have 90% survival rate.

The connection between diagnosis and treatment:

Early screening, or symptoms will lead a doctor to explore the diagnosis. Once it is known that the woman has ovarian cancer the next step is to find out the extent of the disease, which will greatly impact the treatment of choice.

Surgery is the first step in the treatment and the purpose of the surgery is to remove as much of the cancer as possible during the surgery. The doctor will consider the woman’s desire for future children in deciding what surgery to perform. Typically the tumor and any affected surrounding tissue is removed. Usually the entire affected ovary, or both ovaries and the fallopian tubes are removed if the malignant cancer cells have already affected these areas. A hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus) may be necessary if malignant cells are detected in the uterus. Some patients will undergo radiotherapy, which is the use of high-energy radiation to destroy any remaining malignant cancer cells after surgery. Chemotherapy is used more often then radiotherapy, but it can also be used in conjunction with radiotherapy. Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer drugs to help destroy any remaining cancer cells. These drugs may be given by mouth, or through the veins (intravenously), or it may also be given through the muscles (injection by needle). Anticancer drugs used in chemotherapy are called cytotoxic drugs and synthetic forms of sex hormones such as androgen drugs and progesterone drugs. These different anticancer drugs may be prescribed in combination to speed up the treatment results. The choice of drugs given is determined by the stage of cancer and the general health of the woman.

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