Epithelial Ovarian Cancer is a condition in which malignant tumor emerges from the tissue lining in the outer surface of the ovary. Epithelial tumors are usually benign, but this form of malignancy has been found to be the most common type of ovarian cancer. Moreover, it cannot be diagnosed until in its advanced stage. Medical research shows that factors such as multiple pregnancies, delayed childbirth and early menarche seem to raise the risk of ovarian cancer, while dietary and environmental factors also play a significant role in it.
1. A majority of the patients have been observed to have extensive intra-abdominal growth.
2. They may experience discomfort or swelling of the abdominal region.
3. The feeling of being bloated, lack of appetite, unnatural weight alteration, dyspepsia, malaise, and urinary problems are frequently reported symptoms.
4. Patients also experience constipation and other gastrointestinal problems.
The first step towards treatment of ovarian cancer is to diagnose the condition. A thorough pelvic examination (consisting of an examination of the vagina, uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and cervix) will help to pin point any abnormality of the ovary. If the doctor notes nodularity, firmness or lack of tenderness during the examination, these can be taken as symptoms of malignancy of epithelial ovarian tumors. Ultrasound examination of the abdominal region will also help to locate abnormality in the tissues on the outer surface of the ovary. The next logical step towards treatment is getting a biopsy. During this procedure potentially malignant cells are removed and then diagnosed by a pathologist to conclude if the cells are cancerous or not. The process of removal is known as laparotomy.
Apart from a handful of stage one patients, most women with epithelial ovarian cancer receive chemotherapy. The standard treatment for this type of ovarian cancer is the surgical elimination of tumor. This includes total abdominal hysterectomy, a surgery in which the uterus and cervix is removed through an incision in the abdomen. Post surgical treatment consists of taxane-platinum chemotherapy. Patients with minimal residual cancer undergo external radiation therapy or intraperitoneal chemotherapy (radioactive liquid is channelled into the abdomen with the help of a catheter).
A lot of research has been done in this field and a variety of clinical trials are available for a patient, if he/she wishes to be a part of it. Leading methods are immunotherapy and targeted therapy are also available. Immunotherapy uses the immune system of the patient to battle cancer. Bodily substances or substances created in the lab are used to restore and boost the body’s natural defence mechanisms against cancer. Targeted therapy, on the other hand, uses substances to identify the cancer and attack the malignant cells without jeopardizing non-cancerous cells.