Best Ovarian Cancer Treatment Hospitals In India

Ovarian cancer refers to abnormal or uncontrolled growth of cancer cells in the ovary (female reproductive glands that helps in the formation of female hormones and eggs). It is the seventh most common cancer in women.

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Tumors in the ovary may be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous) and can be classified into three types:

·      Stromal tumors: These tumors originate from ovarian cells that release female hormones and hold the various structures within the ovary together.

·      Germ cell tumors: These tumors start from ovarian cells that are destined to become eggs.

·       Epithelial tumors: These tumors begin from cells that cover the outer surface of the ovary, and account for 85 to 90 percent of all ovarian cancers. Most epithelial tumors are non-cancerous. Cancerous epithelial tumors are called carcinomas.

Hormone replacement therapy (especially only estrogen usage) for more than five years, inherited gene mutation, age above 50 years, obesity, family history of breast or ovarian cancer, personal history of colon, breast, or uterine cancer etc. increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer. The stages of ovarian cancer are as follows –

Stage I: In this stage, the cancer is limited to the ovaries, with or without collection of fluid in the abdominal cavity. Tumor cells may or may not be present on the surface of the ovary.

Stage II: In this stage, the cancer in one or both ovaries spreads into the pelvis and may involve the fallopian tubes and/or the uterus or other pelvic organs with or without collection of fluid in the abdominal cavity. Tumor cells may or may not be present on the surface of the ovary.

Stage III: Cancer in this stage may involve one or both may or may not have spread to lymph nodes or beyond the pelvis to the abdomen lining.

Stage IV: This is the most advanced stage of ovarian cancer, in which the cancer in one or both ovaries spreads to distant organs like the liver and bone.  Cancer cells may also be found in fluid surrounding the lungs.

Ovarian cancer presents with symptoms such as constipation, pelvic pain, back pain, frequent urination, pain during intercourse, heartburn or indigestion, nausea, loss of appetite, stomach pain, feeling full after eating, breathlessness, weight loss, fatigue etc.

When a patient presents with the above symptoms, the physician performs a complete physical examination, and checks the rectum, vagina and lower abdomen for growths or masses. Some other tests are also performed for obtaining detailed images of the ovaries as follows–
Exploratory surgery: This surgery is performed to confirm the diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

Ultrasound: In this procedure, high-frequency sound waves are used in order to obtain clear images of the ovaries and surrounding structures.

Blood tests: In women suspected of having ovarian cancer or those with a previous history of ovarian cancer, CA 125 blood test is done. In women with ovarian cancer, this test shows abnormally high level of protein antigen.

Positron Emission Tomographic Scan (PET): In this test, a radioactive drug (tracer) (that is injected, swallowed or inhaled) is used to define areas with higher levels of chemical activity that corresponds with cancer. It thus helps in detecting cancer before it can be identified by other imaging tests.

Upper G.I. and Lower G.I. scopy: These procedures help to identify any primary cancer (cancer that starts in a particular region) in the gastrointestinal tract.

Computed Tomography (CT) scan: In this method, X-rays are used to produce cross-sectional (slice) images of the body to detect large ovarian tumors, enlarged lymph nodes, or spread of the cancer to the liver or other organs.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): In this method, electromagnetic waves are used to obtain highly detailed images of the ovarian tumor.

Mammography: It is used to detect if the cancer has spread to the breast.

Once diagnosis of an ovarian tumor is confirmed using the above methods, the tumor is treated using one or more of the following treatments –

Radiation therapy: In this therapy, X-rays or high-energy beams from metals like radium are used to destroy cancer cells. This also includes brachytherapy, wherein a small amount of radioactive material is implanted surrounding the cancer to deliver radiation.

Surgery: Ovarian cancer is treated by using any one of three surgical methods, viz laparoscopy (removal of the cancer through small incisions), frozen section tissue analysis (identification of the ovarian tumor as cancerous or non-cancerous by rapidly examining a frozen section under the microscope and then performing the required procedure), or laparotomy (removal of ovarian tumor and uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and surrounding lymph glands, through a large abdominal incision).

Chemotherapy: Anticancer drugs (injected into a muscle or vein or given by mouth) are used to destroy the cancer cells before or after surgery.

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