With the development of abnormal tissue in the ovaries, a malignant tumor – i.e. ovarian cancer – is created. It is not known what causes ovarian cancer, although the disease (in some cases) develops from long-lasting ovarian cysts. Ovarian cancer is very difficult to detect in the initial stages. Namely, ovaries are located deep in the abdominal cavity, so any swelling is often hard to detect until the disease is in advanced stages. Only then can symptoms such as lower abdominal pain and weight loss occur, and the patient generally feels badly. Sometimes the tumor secretes the fluid that causes the swelling of the whole belly (this condition is called ascites). If it is not detected early and/or if the treatment does not start immediately, the cancer will spread and death may occur after several months.
Studies have shown that ovarian cancer is a rare disease, especially among women under the age of 40, and the cause of death is only in 1 case of 6,000 patients.
What to do?
Any woman who has any of the symptoms described must contact the doctor immediately. If a doctor suspects on cancer, a brief stay in the hospital will be required where the gynecologist will perform all the detailed tests, possibly with laparoscopy. If all tests confirm that the patient has a cancer, the affected ovary has to be removed surgically, as well as other cancerous tissue (if the disease has spread). In many cases, other ovary and uterus are removed at the same time to prevent the development of subsequent tumors.
Re-occurence of the disease is prevented by radiotherapy or cytostatics (anti-cancer drugs) and the same means prevent its progression (if it has already spread). If the tumor secretes the fluid, the doctor will periodically pull it out with a needle and a syringe – the procedure is quick and painless. Although sometimes treatment is not possible, therapy will allow at least a few years of quite normal life.