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Ovarian Cancer Treatment Options and Diagnosis

03 February 2015


Ovarian cancer usually develops in women aged over 50. Ovarian cancer is the fifth most prevalent type of cancer in the UK's female population. Statistics say that around 7,000 women in the country are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year.. The diagnosis of the ovarian cancer usually involves blood tests, Ultrasound, chest X-ray, CT or MRI scan, laparoscopy, or abdominal fluid aspiration. Once the staging of the cancer has been done, the doctor decides on which mode of treatment is suitable for the patient. Doctors take into account factors like the general health of the patient, the stage to which the cancer has advanced and fertility while choosing between ovarian cancer treatment options.

The cost of medical treatment and care for cancer are usually high. Ovarian cancer patients from Western countries are now starting to look at more cost-friendly treatment options in other countries. Healthcare hotspots like Thailand, Mexico, Malaysia, India and Singapore have made a place for themselves for their state-of-the-art medical facilities that are equipped with advanced medical equipment and experienced oncologists as well as surgeons, offering high-quality medical care at affordable prices.

Surgery


Surgery is typically the primary mode of treatment for patients who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Sometimes the doctor will only be able to clarify the stage to which the cancer has advanced after surgery. During surgery the medical professional may remove the uterus (abdominal hysterectomy), ovaries and fallopian tubes (bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy), or the omentum (omenectomy). In some cases the surgeon may remove lymph nodes in the abdomen and pelvis, and take samples in the surrounding tissue for diagnosis. If the surgeons notice that the cancer has spread, they will remove most of the tumor, so they can drastically cut down the cancer that has to be treated with radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy


During chemotherapy, anti-cancer or cytotoxic drugs are administered to destroy the cancer cells. Chemotherapy helps stunt the growth and division of the cancer cells. Systemic chemotherapy allows the drugs to be delivered through the individual's bloodstream thereby allowing it to reach cancerous cells around the body. Sometimes, the doctor may suggest chemotherapy prior to surgery, so as to allow the tumor to shrink so it makes for easier removal. This is referred to as neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Adjuvant chemotherapy may be carried out to remove remnant cancer cells following the surgery. Maintenance chemotherapy helps reduce the growth of cancer cells and risk of recurrence, while recurrence chemotherapy is performed to treat cancer that comes back.

There are a number of drugs that can be considered for chemotherapy, and the surgeon may even suggest a combination of drugs. Carboplatin and Paclitaxel are commonly used for this form of treatment. The chemotherapy regimen typically has a certain number of cycles that are administered over a specific time period.

Radiation therapy


It is usually not considered as one of the foremost treatment options, and is preferred in cases where the cancer is confined within a small region. During this treatment, high intensity X-rays or other beams are used to destroy the cancer cells, administered by a radiation oncologist. Radiation therapy can also be administered with the help of implants internally through a procedure called as brachytherapy. During this treatment, the medical professional injects a small quantity of radioactive substance directly into the cancerous tumor, or injects radioactive liquid through a catheter into the individual's abdomen. Radiation therapy can also be performed externally by means of a machine, as in the case of external-beam treatments.





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