Ovarian cancer, according to the American Cancer Society, is responsible for more deaths than any other cancer in the female reproductive system. Dr. Monica Heymann, an oncologist gynecologist, in an interview with Medical Science, warned about the importance of attending medical checkups when they correspond, as they can warn about an abnormality in the pelvic organs, in time. “We all have to do our gynecological check-up every half-year we are sexually active,”said the specialist at the women’s Hospital step Medical Center.
Ovarian cancer the first thing we need to know is that it is known as “the great simulator”, because unfortunately more than 50% of cases are detected in advanced stages because because it is a great simulator the signs that occur can be confused with other diseases, it is not that the signs are typical of ovarian cancer but is often confused with irritable colon syndrome, with pelvic pain from menstruation. Most of the time people get confused by gastritis, reflux and don’t do their gynecological checks. This is most unfortunate, it is diagnosed in advanced stages most of the time or in early stages either because of accidental findings or because it is a very regular person in his checkups and they are detected at the minimum change that is shown to his gynecologist. But that doesn’t always happen.
How can you identify yourself?
In a gynecological checkup when you’re going to take your cytology kills two birds with one stone. Because he takes his Cytology and prevents cervical cancer. Your gynecologist is required to give you a bimanual touch and observe or feel the size of the uterus and the size of the ovaries. If your gynecologist feels that these ovaries are different in size or different in consistency, he or she will have other studies like a pelvic ultrasound to see how they are. If that reveals anything suspicious, it follows another step, which is to send him to tumor markers like the CA-125. The CA-125 is altered by other diseases and not necessarily malignant. Altered by menstruation, by pregnancy, endometriosis. It’s not specific to ovarian cancer. I as an oncologist gynecologist leave it to my patient more than anything else as a follow-up, it serves as a marker, but not to diagnose.
What are the risk factors that are associated with ovarian cancer?
One of the main ones that is associated is obesity, which predominates in our population. Most of these ovarian cancers respond to hormonal stimuli and are associated with gastric cancer, endometrial cancer, and breast cancer and all of these cancers are related to a metabolic syndrome that may include diabetes, obesity, hypertension.
What are the treatments?
There are treatments aimed at trying to conserve –there is always a risk– ovarian function or some ovarian tumors that are considered “borderline” (at the limit) of malignancy, which are handled properly by surgery. Those don’t need chemotherapy because they’re on the edge, they’re not malignant, they’re not totally benign, and they’re being watched. Some of the epithelials will require chemotherapy. Radiation therapy in ovarian cancer is not like the “gold standard” treatment that will be given to ovarian cancer. the most important thing is that we manage to remove as much as possible.
Can you come back?
What happens is that ovarian cancer, like all cancers, depends on the stage at which you are diagnosed. Stage 1A is the earliest stage in ovarian cancer, has almost no chance that the disease will return to another organ, and if it is a lower-risk strain, because as with all cancers there are strains of less or more aggression, there are some that are resistant to chemotherapies and others that are not. In this case 1A, the woman is not going to get ovarian cancer back –she has to be followed– but she is not going to get it back regularly and those are the candidates –when they have not had children– to make conservative moves, but for example if we are talking about a woman with a stage 3 she has a 70% chance that we will not get rid of that disease or Stage 4. So all cancer can come back at any stage, but in medicine it’s a matter of probabilities. Earlier stages are less likely to return or almost null.