PERSONALISED OVARIAN CANCER SCREENING CONSULTATION

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SERVICE DESCRIPTION

SERVICE DESCRIPTION

  1. 1
    WHAT IS OVARIAN CANCER?

    Ovarian cancer is a malignant tumour in the ovary, the woman’s reproductive organ that releases eggs and female hormones, such as estrogen. It’s the second most common women’s cancer (after cancer of the uterus). About half of women with this cancer are older (average age of 59) and have gone through menopause (change of life), so their ovaries no longer work.

    Ovarian cancer is an abnormal growth of tissue (tumour) in one or both ovaries that is cancerous (malignant). Unlike noncancerous (benign) tumours, malignant tumours can spread to other parts of your body.

    The ovaries are the parts of the female reproductive system that produce eggs. Women have two ovaries. They are located on either side of your uterus.

  2. 2
    WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF OVARIAN CANCER?

    The cause isn’t clear, but certain things can increase the chances of getting it. The most important are age and having relatives who had it. Others are obesity, having breast cancer, starting periods early, and going through menopause late. Some other factors, such as having children, breastfeeding, and using birth control pills, can lower the chances.

  3. 3
    WHAT INCREASES THE RISK OF OVARIAN CANCER?

    There are a number of risk factors that can increase your chances of getting ovarian cancer:

    • Being 50 years or older.
    • Having a personal or family history of endometrial, colon, breast, or ovarian cancer.
    • Having theBRCA1andBRCA2genes.
    • Using fertility medicines.
    • Starting menstruation before the age of 12 years.
    • Starting menopause after the age of 50 years.
    • Becoming pregnant for the first time at 35 years or older.
    • Never being pregnant.
    • Having hormone replacement therapy.
    • Being obese.
    • Having a personal history of endometriosis.
  4. 4
    WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OR SYMPTOMS OF OVARIAN CANCER?

    Early ovarian cancer often does not cause symptoms. As the cancer grows, symptoms may include:

    • Unexplained weight loss.
    • Abdominal pain, swelling or bloating.
    • Pain and pressure in your back and pelvis.
    • Abnormal vaginal bleeding.
    • Loss of appetite.
    • Frequent urination.
    • Pain during sex.
    • Fatigue.
  5. 5
    HOW IS OVARIAN CANCER DIAGNOSED?

    Your health care provider will ask about your medical history. He or she may also perform a number of tests, such as:

    • A pelvic exam. Your health care provider will feel the organs in the pelvis for any lumps or changes in their shape or size.
    • Imaging tests, such as CT scans, ultrasound exams, or MRI.
    • Blood tests.

    Biopsy is the only way to tell whether a mass in the ovary is cancer. In a biopsy, a small piece of tissue is surgically removed and studied with a microscope. The doctor also uses the surgery to find out the stage (extent) of a cancer. The stage relates to how far the cancer spread. Sometimes, tumour markers (CA-125, a substance found in blood) may help diagnosis.

    Your cancer will be staged to determine its severity and extent. Staging is performed by your health care provider during surgery when the ovarian cancer is removed. Staging is done to find out the size of the tumour, whether the cancer has spread, and if so, to what parts of your body. You may need to have more tests to determine the stage of your cancer:

    • Stage I—The cancer is found in only one or both ovaries.
    • Stage II—The cancer has spread to other parts of the pelvis, such as the uterus or fallopian tubes.
    • Stage III—The cancer has spread outside the pelvis to the abdominal cavity or to the lymph nodes in the abdomen.
    • Stage IV—The cancer has spread outside the abdomen to areas such as the liver or lungs.
  6. 6
    HOW IS OVARIAN CANCER TREATED?

    Treatment depends on the location and stage of disease, type of cancer, and age and general health.

    Women with ovarian cancer can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or any combination of the three. If the cancer is found at an early stage, surgery may be done to remove one ovary and its fallopian tube. For more advanced cases, surgery may be done to remove the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Your health care provider may also remove the lymph nodes near the tumour and some tissue in the abdomen. Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be used before or after the surgery. Radiation, the use of high energy X-rays to kill cancer cells, may be used in certain instances.

    Follow these instructions at home regarding ovarian cancer:

    • Take medicines only as directed by your health care provider.
    • Consider joining a support group. If you are feeling stressed because you have ovarian cancer, a support group may help you cope with the disease.
    • Seek advice to help you manage the treatment of side effects.
    • Keep all follow-up visits as directed by your health care provider. This is important.

    Contact a health care provider regarding ovarian cancer if:

    • You have a dull ache in your lower abdomen or groin.
    • You have increased abdominal pain, swelling, or bloating.
    • You have changes in your bowel or bladder function.

    DOs and DON’Ts in managing ovarian cancer:

    • DO tell your health care provider about relatives with ovarian cancer.
    • DO remember, if you have not yet gone through menopause, that removing your ovaries and uterus means that you cannot become pregnant. You’ll also go through menopause.
    • DO ask your health care provider about emotional and social support groups in your community.
    • DO tell your health care provider about medicine side effects.
    • DO live a healthy lifestyle. Eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and less fat. Keep to your ideal weight. Exercise.
    • DON’T miss follow-up health care provider appointments.

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