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Symptoms and Effective Treatment of Ovarian Cancer - New Gynaecological Expert Guide

Posted Aug 23 2011 5:56am

Ovarian Cancer Patients need more help to process the amount of information that is now available, and enable informed choice. Consultant Clinical Oncologist and internationally recognised Ovarian Cancer expert Dr McCormack offers this advice to women attending a medical appointment for ovarianrelating to the ovaries cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body.:

"Make a note of any questions that you have before your appointment. Take a friend with you as there is lots of information to take in. Take a pencil and paper and expect to receive lots of written information. If this is not offered ask for it!" [this form is useful for anyone preparing forr a consultation].

In her article for totalhealth, Dr McCormack provides the details in, plain English, on the causes, symptoms and signs of the most common type of ovarian cancer , how it is diagnosed and the types of treatment available.

Ovarian cancer is sometimes known as the silent killer as the changes it causes in women are subtle. Mary McCormack explains that these ssymptoms can include:

  • an expanding waistline despite a loss of appetite,
  • weight loss especially noticeable on face and limbs
  • bloating - symptoms often erroneously attributed, by the patient, to the change in life (i.e. menopauseThe time of a woman’s life when her ovaries stop releasing an egg (ovum) on a monthly cycle.).  
  • The most common symptom of advanced disease is abdominalRelating to the abdomen, which is the region of the body between the chest and the pelvis. pain.
  • Some women may experience a change in bowelA common name for the large and/or small intestines. habit –new onset constipationa common condition where stools are not passed as frequently as normal or diarrhoeaWhen bowel evacuation happens more often than usual, or where the faeces are abnormally liquid. often resulting in a referral to a bowel specialist. 

Cancer of the ovary is the second most common gynaecological cancer in women. In the UK 6800 women are diagnosed annually. It is most common after the age of 50 and therefore the majority of women diagnosed are post-menopausalAfter the menopause - technically only once a woman has had no menstrual period for one year. (their periods have stopped). Most women have advanced stage disease at diagnosisThe process of determining which condition a patient may have. and are unfortunately unlikely to be cured.  

Mary McCormack qualified as a doctor from Guys and St Thomas’s Hospital, London in 1993 and she is now a Consultant Clinical Oncologist at University College Hospital and at The Harley Street Clinic.  Prior to attending medical school she undertook research in radiationEnergy in the form of waves or particles, including radio waves, X-rays and gamma rays. biology and in 1989 she was awarded a PhD.  She has worked in some of the top London cancer centres and was awarded the FRCR in Clinical Oncology in 2000.  She was subsequently appointed as a consultant at UCH in March 2002.

She is a clinical oncologistA specialist in the treatment of cancer. (chemotherapyThe use of chemical substances to treat disease, particularly cancer. and radiotherapyThe treatment of disease using radiation.) with expertise in the treatment of gynaecological (ovary, cervixAny neck-like structure; most commonly refers to the neck of the uterus., wombThe uterus., vulvaThe external part of the female genitalia. and vaginaThe muscula passage, forming part of the femal reproductive system, between the cervix and the external genitalia. ) and breast cancers.  She is also a member of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Gynaecological Clinical studies group and the Gynaecological Cancer InterGroup (GCIG).  She is a major contributor to National and International clinical trials. 

totalhealth is a patient focused medical education website. This unique, impartial and authoritative title publishes information on the latest medical advances and treatment options and is written by clinical experts. Articles are the same material normally prepared for medical journals, but with full explanations for the more technical medical jargon. totalhealth provides the essential expert knowledge to ensure that patients have access to the right information so that they can understand their own situation and where necessary seek appropriate treatment.

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