Ovarian cancer is cancer that appears in the ovarian tissue or the ovaries. This cancer is the third most common type of cancer suffered by women in Indonesia.
Ovarian cancer that is detected at an early stage is easier to treat than ovarian cancer that is detected at an advanced stage. Therefore, it is important to carry out periodic checks to the obstetrician 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 for at least 5 years after being diagnosed. Meanwhile, a third of sufferers have a life expectancy of at least 10 years.
Ovarian Cancer Causes
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 at menopause
- Have a family member with ovarian cancer or breast cancer
- Suffer from obesity , obesity, endometriosis or Lynch syndrome
- Have 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 symptoms of other diseases. Some of the symptoms are:
- Get full quickly
- Stomach ache
- Constipation (constipation).
- Swollen belly
- Weight loss
- Frequent urination
- Pain in the lower back
- Pain during intercourse
- Blood coming out of the vagina
- Changes in the menstrual cycle, in patients who are still menstruating
When to see a doctor
Check with your doctor if a lump appears in your stomach or you often experience symptoms of digestive disorders, such as flatulence, fullness quickly, abdominal pain, or constipation.
It is important to remember, an 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 about 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 carry out a physical examination, especially of 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:
Blood tests Blood tests aim to detect the protein CA-125, which is a marker of
The initial method used to detect ovarian cancer is an abdominal ultrasound . After that, the doctor can do a CT scan or MRI.
In this examination, the doctor will take a sample of ovarian tissue to be examined 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 intestines, and lymph nodes in the pelvis or abdomen.
Cancer has spread to other distant organs, such as the kidneys, liver or lungs.
Ovarian Cancer Treatment
Treatment of 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 surrounding tissue that has been affected by cancer.
Please note, several types of surgery to treat ovarian cancer can make patients unable to have children anymore. 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 on patients with early-stage ovarian cancer after surgery.
Even so, radiotherapy can also be performed on 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 reduce the size of the cancer so that it can be removed more easily, or after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells.
Some types of drugs used in chemotherapy are:
It should be noted, patients who have completed ovarian cancer therapy are still at risk of experiencing a recurrence within a few years. Therefore, if the patient's condition allows, the doctor will suggest maintenance therapy or maintenance therapy through administering drugs.
Maintenance therapy is given to patients with stage 3 and 4 ovarian cancer who have undergone surgery or chemotherapy and show a complete or partial response.
Complete response means that signs of cancer are no longer found after therapy. 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 recurrence of ovarian cancer and delay its worsening by extending 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 reduce the risk of developing ovarian cancer. Even so, its use must be discussed in advance with the doctor
In addition, first discuss with your doctor if you plan to undergo hormone replacement therapy to relieve menopausal symptoms. This therapy has a 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 done to prevent the risk of developing cancer in general, namely:
- Maintain body weight so that it is always ideal
- Quit smoking
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a complete and balanced nutritious diet