If you or a loved one is dealing with a diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer, our comprehensive care team of Gynecologic Oncology specialists at West Cancer Center & Research Institute is here to surround you with the latest treatments and technology to design a personalized treatment plan specific to your disease. Our goal is to also provide resources and information to better help you understand and manage your disease.
What is Ovarian Cancer?
Ovarian Cancer is a disease where malignant cells are on the outer layer, near or inside the ovaries (two almond-shaped organs on each side of the uterus that produce female hormones and store eggs) Early-stage ovarian cancer, where the disease is confined to the ovaries, can be more successfully treated, but many times goes undetected due to nonspecific symptoms.
Stages of Ovarian Cancer
Cancer is found inside a single ovary or fallopian tube.
Cancer is found inside both ovaries or fallopian tubes.
Cancer is found inside one or both ovaries or fallopian tubes and one of the following is true:
- cancer is also found on the outside surface of one or both ovaries or fallopian tubes; or
- the capsule (outer covering) of the ovary ruptured (broke open) before or during surgery; or
- cancer cells are found in the fluid of the peritoneal cavity (the body cavity that contains most of the organs in the abdomen) or in washings of the peritoneum (tissue lining the peritoneal cavity).
Cancer is found in one or both ovaries or fallopian tubes and has spread into other areas of the pelvis, or primary peritoneal cancer is found within the pelvis
Cancer has spread from where it first formed to the uterus and/or the fallopian tubes and/or the ovaries.
Cancer has spread from the ovary or fallopian tube to organs in the peritoneal cavity (the space that contains the abdominal organs).
Cancer is found in one or both ovaries or fallopian tubes, or is primary peritoneal cancer, and has spread outside the pelvis to other parts of the abdomen and/or to nearby lymph nodes.
one of the following is true:
- Cancer has spread to lymph nodes in the area outside or behind the peritoneum only; or
- Cancer cells that can be seen only with a microscope have spread to the surface of the peritoneum outside the pelvis. Cancer may have spread to nearby lymph nodes.
Cancer has spread to the peritoneum outside the pelvis and the cancer in the peritoneum is 2 centimeters or smaller and may have spread to lymph nodes behind the peritoneum.
Cancer has spread to the peritoneum outside the pelvis and the cancer in the peritoneum is larger than 2 centimeters and may have spread to lymph nodes behind the peritoneum or to the surface of the liver or spleen.
Cancer cells are found in extra fluid that builds up around the lungs.
Cancer has spread to organs and tissues outside the abdomen, including lymph nodes in the groin.
Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we urge you to speak to your provider as soon as possible for further examination.
- Weight loss
- Changes in bowel habits, such as constipation
- Quickly feeling full when eating
- Frequent need to urinate
- Abdominal swelling or bloating
- Discomfort in the pelvis area
How to Diagnose Ovarian Cancer
If your provider would like to further investigate the possibility of ovarian cancer, one or more of the following diagnostic procedures may be performed:
A sample of tissue is removed for examination and to determine a diagnosis.
COMPUTERIZED TOMOGRAPHY (CT) SCAN
A CT scan combines a series of X-ray images taken from different angles around your body and uses computer processing to create cross-sectional images (slices) of the bones, blood vessels and soft tissues inside your body. CT scan images the uterus, vagina, bladder, and the rectum to be examined by a physician for lumps and abnormal sizes.
Surgery can be necessary if your doctor can’t be certain of your diagnosis until you undergo surgery to have tissue removed and tested for signs of cancer.
A transvaginal ultrasound is an imaging test that uses sound waves to form images of the endometrium, which will allow the doctors to make a definite diagnosis.
Types of Ovarian Cancer Treatments
Your ovarian cancer treatment plan will vary depending on multiple factors, including but not limited to your stage of diagnosis, as well as the location of your cancer. Your dedicated team of cancer experts will discuss your treatment options and plan with you, allowing you and your loved ones to consider all possible treatment options for your diagnosis.
A drug therapy designed to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells, chemotherapy may be used with radiation therapy to treat cervical cancer.
HYPERTHERMIC INTRAPERITONEAL CHEMOTHERAPY (HIPEC)
Hyperthermic lntraperitoneal Chemotherapy is unlike systemic chemotherapy delivery by using highly concentrated, heated chemotherapy directly to the cancer cells in the abdomen. Not only is absorption of the chemotherapy improved, but higher doses can be applied with less collateral damage.
This therapy involves the use of drugs or surgical procedures to suppress the production of or inhibit the effects of a hormone.
A surgical procedure that includes the removal of all or parts of the affected uterus
A laparotomy typically is the first phase of treatment for ovarian cancerand allows for exploration of the abdomen and removal of as much of the cancer within the abdomen and pelvis area as possible. This procedure helps to diagnose and stage the cancer to determine additional therapy needed.
This surgical procedure involves the removal of the entire uterus, including the cervix, upper vagina and affected lymph nodes.
This minimally invasive option creates smaller, precise incisions are made which decrease recovery times to 1-2 weeks and improves your quality of life.
This surgical procedure includes the removal of both ovaries and both fallopian tubes.