Ovarian cancer is cancer that arises in the tissues of the ovaries or ovaries. This cancer is the third most common type of cancer suffered by women in Indonesia.
Ovarian cancer detected at an early stage is easier to treat than ovarian cancer detected at an advanced stage. Therefore, it is important to have regular check-ups with a gynecologist after entering menopause.
Ovarian cancer that is quickly detected and treated can increase the patient's chances of survival. Nearly half of people with this cancer survive at least 5 years after diagnosis. While a third of patients have a life expectancy of at least 10 years.
Causes of Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer occurs when the DNA in ovarian cells undergoes changes or mutations. These mutations cause ovarian cells to grow abnormally and uncontrollably.
Until now, it is not known exactly what causes this genetic mutation. However, there are several factors that can increase a person's risk of developing ovarian cancer, namely:
- Over 50 years old
- Undergoing hormone replacement therapy during menopause
- Have a family member who has ovarian cancer or breast cancer
- Suffering from obesity , obesity, endometriosis or Lynch syndrome
- Have you ever had radiotherapy?
Ovarian Cancer Symptoms
Ovarian cancer rarely causes symptoms in its early stages. Therefore, ovarian cancer is usually only detected when it has entered an advanced stage or has spread to other organs.
Symptoms of advanced ovarian cancer are also not very specific and can be similar to the symptoms of other diseases. Some of the symptoms are:
- Get full fast
- Stomach ache
- Constipation (constipation).
- Swollen belly
- Weight loss
- Frequent urination
- Pain in the lower back
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Bleeding from the vagina
- Changes in the menstrual cycle, in patients who are still menstruating
When to go to the doctor
Check with your doctor if you have a lump in your stomach or you often experience symptoms of indigestion, such as flatulence, early satiety, stomach pain, or constipation.
It is important to remember, the examination needs to be done immediately if the above symptoms have lasted for 2 weeks. The doctor will run an examination to find out the cause of these symptoms.
Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis
To diagnose ovarian cancer, the doctor will first ask the patient's symptoms and medical history. In addition, the doctor will also ask if any family members have had ovarian cancer or breast cancer.
Next, the doctor will perform a physical examination, especially in the pelvic area and genital organs. If the patient is suspected of having ovarian cancer, the doctor will carry out further examinations in the form of:
The blood test aims to detect the CA-125 protein, which is a marker of
The initial method used to detect ovarian cancer is abdominal ultrasound . After that, the doctor may perform a CT scan or MRI.
In this examination, the doctor will take a sample of ovarian tissue for examination in the laboratory. This examination can determine whether the patient has ovarian cancer or not.
Ovarian Cancer Stage
Based on the severity, ovarian cancer is divided into four stages , namely:
Cancer is in one or both ovaries and has not spread to other organs.
Cancer has spread to tissues in the pelvic cavity or uterus.
Cancer has spread to the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum), the surface of the intestine, and lymph nodes in the pelvis or abdomen.
Cancer has spread to other organs that are far away, such as the kidneys, liver, or lungs.
Ovarian Cancer Treatment
Treatment for ovarian cancer depends on the stage of the cancer, the patient's condition, and whether the patient still wants to have children. Treatment methods include:
Surgery aims to remove one or both ovaries. In addition to removing the ovaries, surgery can also be performed to remove the uterus ( hysterectomy ) and the surrounding tissue that has been affected by cancer.
Please note, some types of surgery to treat ovarian cancer can make the patient unable to have more children. Therefore, consult with your doctor about the benefits and risks of the surgery to be performed.
Radiotherapy is the use of high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. Radiotherapy is generally performed in patients with early stage ovarian cancer after surgery.
Even so, radiotherapy can also be done in patients with end-stage ovarian cancer. The goal is to kill cancer cells that have spread to other body tissues.
Chemotherapy is the administration of drugs to kill cancer cells. This procedure can be done before surgery to shrink the size of the cancer so it is easier to remove, or after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells.
Some types of drugs used in chemotherapy are:
Please note, patients who have completed ovarian cancer therapy are still at risk for recurrence within a few years. Therefore, if the patient's condition allows, the doctor will suggest maintenance therapy or maintenance therapy through the administration of drugs.
Maintenance therapy is given to patients with stage 3 and 4 ovarian cancer who have undergone surgery or chemotherapy and show complete or partial response.
Complete response means that signs of cancer are no longer found after treatment. While a partial response means the patient has improved, the cancer cells have not completely disappeared from the body.
The goal of maintenance therapy is to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer recurrence and delay its progression by prolonging the recovery period. The duration of maintenance therapy depends on the type of drug.
Ovarian Cancer Complications
Ovarian cancer can cause complications, especially if it has entered an advanced stage. This complication occurs because the cancer cells have spread to other organs of the body.
Some of these complications are:
- Perforation or hole in the intestine
- Accumulation of fluid in the lining of the lungs ( pleural effusion )
- Urinary blockage
- Intestinal blockage
Ovarian Cancer Prevention
Ovarian cancer is difficult to prevent because the cause is unknown. However, taking combination birth control pills is known to lower the risk of developing ovarian cancer. Even so, its use should be discussed with the doctor first
In addition, discuss with your doctor first if you are planning to undergo hormone replacement therapy to relieve menopausal symptoms. This therapy is at risk of causing ovarian cancer, especially if you have a family history of ovarian cancer or breast cancer .
In addition, there are several independent efforts that can be made to prevent the risk of developing cancer in general, namely:
- Maintain ideal body weight
- Quit smoking
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a complete and balanced nutritious diet