Dr Reenu Jain, Consultant, Department of obstetrics & Gynecology, Jaypee Hospital, Noida
New Delhi, May 27,2017 : About 1 in 70 women develop ovarian cancer, the deadliest of the gynaecologic cancers. Because there is no reliable diagnostic screening for ovarian cancer, it often goes undetected or is misdiagnosed until it has advanced to the later stages. More than 75% of women are diagnosed in the later stages; in fact, only about 19% of cases are diagnosed early. The majority of women diagnosed in later stages do not make the 5-year milestone.
Ovarian cancer does not discriminate. It can affect females of any ethnic background and of any age (girls as young as 1 year old have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer). The lack of public awareness and education about ovarian cancer is a critical health issue.
- Genetic predisposition
- One in five women with ovarian cancer has inherited genetic mutations that increase the risk of the disease. This includes the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations, which are linked to breast and ovarian cancer.
- Personal or family history of breast, ovarian or colon cancer
- A woman’s odds of developing ovarian cancer are higher if a close relative has had cancer of the ovaries, breast, or colon. Women with a strong family history should talk to a doctor to see whether closer medical follow-up could be helpful.
- Increasing Age.
- Undesired infertility
Do not hesitate to initiate a possibly life-saving discussion about ovarian cancer with your female family members, friends and co-workers, and especially your physician. The more we all know, the better chance of an early diagnosis and the less risk we have of losing the battle against ovarian cancer.
Although the symptoms of ovarian cancer often are not acute or intense (particularly in the early stages), they are not silent. Once thought to be a ‘silent disease’, 95% of women with ovarian cancer have vague but persistent symptoms. Following symptoms are likely to occur in women with ovarian cancer:
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
- Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)
Other symptoms of ovarian cancer may include extreme fatigue, indigestion, heartburn or upset stomach, lower back and/or leg pain, change in bowel habits (constipation or diarrhoea), weight loss, menstrual irregularities and shortness of breath
See your doctor if any combination of these symptoms persists for more than 2 weeks.
Ovarian Cancer Screening Tests
There is no easy or reliable way to test for ovarian cancer if a woman has no symptoms. However, there are two ways to screen for ovarian cancer during a routine gynaecologic check up. One is a blood test for elevated levels of a protein called CA-125. The other is an ultrasound of the ovaries.
Ovarian Cancer Surgery
Dr Reenu Jain said If suspected, surgery should be performed by a gynaecologic oncologist, a specialist trained in cancers of the female reproductive system. The goal is to remove as much of the cancer as possible
From the “Silent Killer” to the “Whispering Disease”
Ovarian cancer is not “silent” but that women must “listen” to their bodies in order to recognize the signs of “the disease that whispers.” If you have a gynaecologic cancer, you’ll have a better chance of survival if you are treated by specialists in gynaecologic oncology.
We, at Jaypee Hospital want women to know that they can take these simple steps to reduce their risk of gynecologic cancers, and that as a team of specialists we are here to help.