Ovarian cancer occurs predominantly in women age 50 to 60 years. A small percentage of ovarian cancers can be attributed to an inherited gene mutation. There are also several risk factors such as the long-term use of hormone replacement therapy, fertility treatments, and smoking. Symptoms of ovarian cancer include unusual vaginal bleeding and discharge, soreness and pain in the lower pelvic area, abdominal pain and bloating, and changes in your bathroom habits. If you experience a cluster of these symptoms, consult your physician. Annual well-woman check-ups can also screen for ovarian cancer, especially if you have risk factors.
Surgical removal of tumors and affected tissue is the primary treatment for ovarian cancer. The surgeon's goal is typically to remove the whole tumor tissue. However, this might not be possible in a single procedure. The type and number of operations you will need depend on your general health and whether or not cancer has already spread. Another factor to consider is whether or not you are near childbearing age. This is important because it may be possible to remove only one ovary instead of both and the uterus. Staging and debulking are the two objectives during surgery. Staging refers to determining how far cancer has spread. Debulking is the term for surgical removal of the cancerous growths. A gynecologic oncologist is a specialist who is trained to treat ovarian cancer; specifically staging and debulking. This process can improve the overall chances of survival for women with ovarian cancer.
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