Ovarian Cancer – The Silent Killer

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What is Ovarian Cancer?

Ovarian cancer develops when abnormal cells in the ovary/ovaries, the two reproductive glands that produce eggs, begin to multiply out of control to form a tumour. It is erstwhile known as ‘The Silent Killer’ as symptoms are often vague and open to misinterpretation in the early stages, which can lead to a late diagnosis. Left undetected, the tumours often spread (metastasise) to other organs, making it increasingly difficult to treat.

Ovarian Cysts:

It would be easy to confuse a simple (benign) ovarian cyst with a cancerous tumour.  The symptoms can be similar, but the cyst is merely a fluid or air collection surrounding the ovary. They can be a result of ovulation and usually resolves but sometimes can grow and may need to be removed surgically but are still not ovarian cancer cysts.  Cysts after the menopause are usually significant and require surveillance. Screening can help detect the cysts and differentiate benign cysts from more serious ovarian cancer cysts

What Are the Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer?

As suggested, the symptoms can be vague and might not automatically be associated with a gynaecological condition.  These can include bloating, nausea, a change in bowel habit and frequent urination, low energy, lower back pain and sometimes painful periods or pain on intercourse.  If you have any of these symptoms it might be prudent to arrange a health check.

Ovarian Cancer Screening:

A gynaecologist should note your full medical history, including any relevant family history, to assess the risk of you developing ovarian cancer. You will then be offered a blood test known as a CA125 and a gynaecological ultrasound scan. The results of all of these and a thorough physical examination will determine the diagnosis, be it a benign (non-cancerous) cyst or early ovarian cancer or any other gynaecological condition such as fibroids, endometriosis or polyps.

The CA: 125 Tumour Marker:

This is a blood test which measures a protein called (CA:125), which can be grossly elevated in the presence of ovarian cancer. However, heightened levels of CA:125 can also indicate other diseases or conditions such as endometriosis, pancreatitis and inflammatory pelvic disease and so your gynaecologist will interpret the results in conjunction with your medical history, family history, examination and ultrasound scan results.

Transvaginal Ultrasound Scan:

This is an ultrasound scan which uses sound waves, via the introduction of a probe gently placed in the vagina.  The sound waves are interpreted on a monitor as images of the structure of the womb, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and surrounding organs. By this means any cysts or growths can be found, measured and their probable nature indicated.  The sonographer will be able to determine if any cyst, polyp or growth is fluid, air or solid matter and whether it has a blood supply.

The Diagnosis:

Your Gynaecologist will interpret the results together and give you a diagnosis.  More often than not, such screening leads to peace of mind and advice about any actions needed to either get back to full health or maintain health.  If unfortunately ovarian cancer is suspected, your gynaecologist will refer you to a Specialist who can offer treatment and advice as quickly as possible, to offer you the best chance of a full recovery.

Book Your Ovarian Cancer Screen at The Womens Wellness Centre:

There is nothing to lose and everything to gain by undergoing ovarian cancer screening and we would be happy to look after you. Call us on 0207 751 4489 for an appointment or visit our website at www.womenswellnesscentre.com

 

 

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