Ovarian Cancer Tumor: The Symptoms and Treatments

ovarian cancer tumorEvery year, approximately 15,000 women die from an ovarian cancer tumor. In fact, this type of cancer is one of the top five types of cancer which kills women in the USA.

Worldwide, other countries with very high rates of ovarian cancer are Israel and Scandinavia. Japan has one of the lowest rates of this type of cancer. In terms of female reproductive cancers, it has the highest mortality rate.

At this time there are no simple ways for women to decrease their chances of developing an ovarian cancer tumor. When the disease is advanced, the prognosis is very poor. However, according to the American Cancer Society, when the cancer is detected in its earliest stage, the five year survival rate hovers around 93%.

Unfortunately, in about 80% of cases this type of cancer is not discovered until it has spread to other parts of the body. In those cases, only about 1 out of 5 women survive five years past diagnosis.

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Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer Tumor

For many years, this type of cancer was considered a “silent killer”. This is because it was rarely detected until it was quite advanced. In recent years it has been realized that symptoms are often present in the early stages of the disease. As women become more aware of the symptoms they increase the chances of early detection.

About 3 out of 4 women with an early stage ovarian cancer tumor have symptoms. The most common ones are pain in the abdomen or pelvic region, followed by bloating or abdominal pressure, and bleeding from the vagina. Other typical symptoms may include:

  • painful sex, particularly during intercourse
  • menstrual abnormalities such as irregular periods, no periods, or very light or
  • very heavy bleeding
  • low energy levels
  • back pain,
  • frequently needing to urinate
  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • persistent digestive problems
  • constipation or other bowel problems
  • decreased appetite or getting full very quickly when eating
  • weight gain, particularly around the waist
  • a frequent urgent need to urinate

Unfortunately, most of these symptoms of ovarian cancer tumor are typical of other disorders as well. For example, digestive conditions and bladder problems have many similar symptoms. Often women are initially misdiagnosed with some other health condition, such as stress or irritable syndrome, before the cancer is diagnosed.

Two indicators that the symptoms may be caused by an ovarian cancer tumor rather than something like a digestive problem are: 1) they consistently get worse and don’t go away, and 2) they fluctuate very little if at all.

Treatment for Ovarian Cancer Tumor

If ovarian cancer is detected, the type of treatment indicated is dependent on several different factors. These include:

  • Patient’s age
  • Patient’s health
  • Stage and grade of the cancer
  • Location of the tumor
  • Whether or not the patient wants to have children

Types of treatment usually involve the following:

  • Surgical removal of the cancer
  • Radiation to kill the cancerous cells
  • Chemotherapy to destroy cancerous cells

Sometimes the best treatment for ovarian cancer tumor involves a combination of the above treatment options. It is generally recommended that you get a second opinion before making a decision about the best treatment approach for you.

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