When Your War on Ovarian Cancer Goes for a Toss
Ovarian cancer cases are on the surge, and hence it is the need of the hour to stall the staggering rates of women being victims of the disease. Medmonks healthcare professionals have tied up with the best ovarian cancer hospitals in India and best doctors for ovarian cancer in India to dispense top-notch healthcare facilities to the patients, thereby lessening the burden of especially international patients and making their medical trip hassle-free. Ovarian cancer treatment in India is the best and comparatively cost-effective.
Ovarian cancer is associated with abnormal multiplication of cells in the ovaries, which are a crucial part of the female reproductive system. Positioned in the pelvis on either side of the uterus, Ovaries help in the production of female sex hormones and store or release eggs. Ovarian cancer has known to be the fifth most common cause of cancer deaths among women worldwide. It can be lethal if the cancer is not diagnosed and treated timely. Nevertheless, the odds of survival of the cancer are good if it is diagnosed early. Predominantly, the ovarian cancers originate from the lining cells (epithelium) of the ovary. An ovarian tumour is often metastasized to the other vital organs of the body.
What Causes Ovarian Cancer?
There is no specific cause of ovarian cancer; it is an amalgamation of an individual’s lifestyle and diet. Some risk factors linked to the odds of the disease include traces of ovarian cancer biomarkers in the genome, and older adults are at greater risk. Obesity has been associated with putting patients at risk of every other disease. Some other reasons for ovarian cancer include breast cancer, endometriosis and disturbed menstrual cycles. A recent study has set off alarm bells that girls who start menstruating at the age of 12 are at an elevated risk of ovarian cancer. A more significant number of total lifetime ovulations and familial melanoma among women are few other reasons. A family history of melanoma or skin cancer sufferers may also put one at the risk of ovarian cancer.
Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
The symptoms of ovarian cancer are incredibly mild during the initial stage. However, the symptoms aggravate when the tumour starts maturing and causes inflammation in the ovaries. Some of the signs of ovarian cancer are as follows.
• Pain in the pelvis or lower abdomen cramping
• Frequent urination
• Uncontrolled bowel movements
• Fatigueness and Nausea
• Weight loss
• Loss of appetite
These symptoms of ovarian cancer are often confused with those of Poly Cystic Syndrome (PCOS). Patients take note, PCOS is usually diagnosed once a woman is ready to bear a child and hence the risk is associated with sedentary lifestyle.
Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer
Once the medical history of the patient is closely analysed, and early symptoms have been kept into account, then the patient is made to undergo some physical tests for identifying prominent abnormalities in the uterus or ovaries. However, the confirmed diagnosis is drafted once the doctors have the clinical test reports which include the following-
- CT scan
• MRI scan
• Blood test
• Abdominal fluid aspiration
Types of Ovarian Cancer
Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC)– EOC has been known to be the most common form of ovarian cancer affecting millions of women globally. There are three types of Epithelial cancers, which includes ovarian cancer, tumour in the fallopian tubes, and primary peritoneal cancer. EOC mostly occurs when there are DNA changes in the cells. However, the tactic towards tackling these tumours is similar and the most frequently occurring cell types of epithelial ovarian cancer as follows-
• Serous – Around 70 percent of the cases are of this type.
• Mucinous – This type accounts for 10 percent cases. Mucinous tumours have a worse diagnosis when compared to serous tumours.
• Endometrioid – These tumours are mostly linked with a severe infection in the uterus, and at times ovaries inflammation occurs when endometrial cancer is diagnosed.
• Clear cell – These tumours have a comparatively worse prognosis and are far more aggressive.
• Borderline Tumour – Popularly knowns as tumours of low malignant potential, 10-15 percent of ovarian cancers account for borderline tumours. Such tumours stay in the ovaries for very long periods and typically afflict premenopausal women.
• Germ cell tumours – Of the malignant ovarian tumours, Germ cell tumours in the ovary account for 3 percent, which makes them exclusively rare.
Stages of Ovarian Cancer
The treatment given to the patient depends on the stage, grade and severity of ovarian cancer. The four stages of ovarian cancer are as follows-
The stage I cancer is restricted to an ovary or ovaries.
Stage IA- In this only one ovary is affected.
Stage IB- Both the ovaries are inflammated at this stage.
Stage IC- Either one or both the ovaries are affected, this stage witnesses rupture of an ovarian cyst resulting in malignant ascites or positive abdominal washings.
In this stage, the cancer is either in one or both ovaries and rapidly spreads to adjacent organs located in the pelvis, such as the bladder, rectum, colon, or uterus.
Stage IIA – In this stage, cancer has spread to the uterus or fallopian tubes.
Stage IIB – The cancer advances, thereby entering pelvic peritoneum.
Stage IIC – Tumour is restricted to the pelvis but has advanced into malignant ascites.
Cancer develops either in one or both ovaries but invades within the abdomen lining or the lymph nodes.
Stage IIIA – This stage occurs when tumour reaches the upper abdomen.
Stage IIIB – Traces of abdominal cancer nodules which are less than 2 cm.
Stage IIIC – Nodules size expands, or aortic lymph nodes
Stage IV is the supreme stage of cancer when tumour has spread from either one or both ovaries to various other vital organs such as the liver or lungs, or sometimes cancerous biomarkers are found in the fluids around the lungs.
What are the treatment options for getting rid of the Ovarian Cancer?
Treatment is dependent on the type, stage, grade of ovarian cancer and physical health of the patient. Treatment options will be extensively discussed with the oncologist, and hence a patient should choose his or her treatment option carefully. The various types of treatment options for ovarian cancer are as follows-
Surgery: Surgery is the most commonly adopted approach for treating ovarian cancer. Surgical removal of tumour is performed in a clear majority of ovarian cancer patients. The type of surgery one opts for depends upon the grade and aggressiveness of cancer.
Various procedure to get rid of ovarian cancer include unilateral oophorectomy (which involves removing one ovary) or bilateral oophorectomy (in this both the ovaries are surgically removed), salpingectomy (this procedure is solely done for removing Fallopian tubes), hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), and omentectomy (removing the omentum).
When the scenario of advanced prognosis arises then removing the complete cancerous cell becomes unpragmatic. In such cases, debulking surgery is performed for getting rid of the tumour. Post-ovarian cancer surgery, hospital admittance is about four to seven days, and a recovery period lasting for more than a month.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy drugs that are administered are potential in stalling with cell multiplication process and hence destroy the DNA of cancer, thereby averting the growth of tumour. Chemotherapy has proved to be beneficial because it has very few side effects.
These drugs are administered either via the vein intravenously (IV) or are given via the abdomen (IP). Often patients are made to undergo chemotherapy which is then followed by surgery. This procedure is termed as neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Commonly used chemotherapy drugs are- paclitaxel, gemcitabine, cisplatin, doxorubicin, epirubicin and topotecan.
Some of the significant side effects of chemotherapy include anaemia and leucopenia, alongside vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and hair and extreme exhaustion. Take note; chemotherapy should be halted if patients find it difficult to cope up with the process.
Radiation therapy:Radiation therapy involves high-voltage X-rays or proton beaming for neutralising the cancerous cells. This can be solely undergone as palliative therapy, or as adjuvant therapy when it is given alongside surgery or chemotherapy. Some noteworthy side effects of undergoing radiotherapy treatment include diarrhoea, frequent urination, and constipation.
Hormone therapy:This treatment involves restricting the supply of oestrogen so that the growth of the tumour cells is hindered. This therapy has the potency to permanently suppress the cancer growth.
Targeted drug therapy:Novel drugs for targeting tumour cells directly are still under development, but this therapy holds potential in mitigating the damage caused to the normal cells and subsidizes the side effects of chemotherapy.
In some cases, immunotherapy has shown promising results in demolishing the cancerous cells. A Portuguese woman was diagnosed with a very rare, malignant form of ovarian cancer. Conventional methods to tackle the treatment had failed, but immunotherapy was found to be potent. The cancerous biomarkers went into remission, and she was cancer-free. The Cancer that women had was hypercalcemic small cell ovarian cancer; it is a new range of cancer which mostly occurs in a female’s teens or 20s. This rare breed of ovarian cancer is fuelled by genetic mutations, a research study revealed.
However, the doctors are still baffled as to how immunotherapy responded to the deadly pathogens. If this theory can be supported by plausible research, then this treatment may open boulevards to the development novel therapeutics for various other cancers that fail to respond to immunotherapy.
How much does the Ovarian Cancer Treatment Cost in India?
Ovarian cancer treatment is comparatively availed at a lower cost in India. The cost of undergoing surgery for removal of the ovarian cancer is USD 8000. Radiation therapy costs near about USD 5000, and the cost of chemotherapy per cycle is USD 500.
The cost of availing ovarian cancer in India also depends on various other factors.
• Your choice of hospital
• Preference of the oncologist
• The grade and severity of the cancer
• Post-surgery expenses
Best Oncologists and Hospitals for Ovarian Cancer in India
India has carved a niche for itself for availing any treatment at a lower cost. The facilities in India have an integrated healthcare system with globally acclaimed oncologists to its credit. The best oncologists and the hospitals for ovarian cancer are as follows:
• Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram- Dr Vinod Raina
• Fortis Flt. Lt. RajanDhall Hospital, Vasant Kunj – Dr Urvashi Jha
• Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram – Dr Rama Joshi
• BLK Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi- Dr Amit Agarwal
Life After Ovarian Cancer
Regaining strength after ovarian cancer treatment is physically and emotionally gruelling. This especially holds true for patients who underwent a surgical procedure to get both their uterus and ovaries removed. Side effects and sudden menopause post ovarian cancer treatment may be difficult to tackle. Being exposed to several cycles of chemotherapy and radiotherapy lowers down the efficiency and hampers recovery. Patients take note; it is important to stay hydrated and incorporate a healthy which will help boost the immune system. For the ones who underwent surgery can resume driving and other activities after a month or so.
1. What is the prognosis for ovarian cancer?
A patient’s prognosis is dependent on the type and grade of cancer, including age and physical and emotional health when the cancer is diagnosed. The prognosis and treatment options are only decided once your oncologist has the reports of all the tests. However, survival ratio varies, depending on the patient’s response to the treatment.
2. How can ovarian cancer be averted?
There is no tactic to lower the odds of ovarian cancer but incorporating a diet rich in leafy vegetables, nuts, fruits coupled with daily exercise has been associated keeping ovarian cancer at bay. Individuals who have a strong family history should be particularly vigilant. A study has revealed that taking contraceptive pills have been promising in reducing the risk of ovarian cancer by 30 to 50 percent.
3. Is ovarian cancer treatable?
An ovarian tumour diagnosed at an early stage is treatable. However, treating an aggressive and rampant tumour is extremely difficult. The possibility of completely treating cancer depends on the patient’s endurance and response to the debilitating therapies which takes a toll on the immune system.
4. Is chemotherapy effective in demolishing cancerous pathogens?
Chemotherapy drug carboplatin has proved to be of potential in treating epithelial ovarian cancers with mild and minimal side effects. Undergoing three to six cycles of chemotherapy is associated with effectively combating epithelial ovarian cancer.