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Breaking The Science On Ovarian Cancer

1650 words - 7 pages

Being the fifth leading cause of all cancer related deaths among women in the United States, ovarian cancer is a silent killer for which all women are at risk (National Cancer Institute, 2006). Ovarian cancer is a disease in which cancerous cells are located in the ovaries, the glands, of the female reproductive system. What makes this a deadly disease is because it is difficult to detect. In 2012, 22,500 women were diagnosed nationwide and an estimated 15,500 deaths were recorded (National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, 2012). Women today are unaware of the severity of this cancer in addition; they do not know the proper ways to keep themselves at minimum risk. Most cases of ovarian cancer ...view middle of the document...

Gynecologic oncologists have specialized training in giving treatment for women who have cancer of their reproductive organs. When they perform surgery, they remove the cancerous growth. Depending on the stage of the cancer, different surgeries may be performed. Generally, the surgeon will make a long cut in the wall of the abdomen, called a laparotomy. If cancer is present, the surgeon will begin to remove both ovaries and the fallopian tubes, called a salpingo-oophorectomy. If a woman has early Stage I ovarian cancer, the extent of the surgery may depend on if she wants to have children in the future. Women with early ovarian cancer may decide to have only one ovary, one fallopian tube and the omentum, the thin, fatty tissue that covers the intestines, removed. The surgeon may remove the uterus, called a hysterectomy, if the cancer has spread or for precautionary reasons. If the cancer has spread, he or she will remove much of the cancer possible. This is called "debulking" surgery. Some of the nearby lymph nodes and tissues from the pelvis and the abdomen may be removed as well (Holleb, 1986).
Each patient is different with her recovery time. She will spend several days in the hospital after surgery and several weeks before she can return to normal activities. Women who have not gone through menopause yet may experience symptoms due to the sudden loss of female hormones. These symptoms include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and night sweats. Most of these symptoms go away or lessen with time (National Cancer Institute, 2006). Once surgery is complete, the oncologist may prescribe additional treatment.
After surgery, doctors usually prescribe additional treatment like chemotherapy. Chemotherapy relies on the use of drugs that travel through the bloodstream to kill cancer inside and out of the ovaries. This type of treatment destroys the cancer cells or stops them from growing (National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, 2012). When going through chemotherapy, usually more than one drug is given. These drugs can be given using three different methods. The first, is by an intravenous needle (IV). The drugs are given though a thin tube placed in a vein. Some women get intravenous and intraperitoneal (IP) chemotherapy. Intraperitoneal therapy uses a catheter that is placed in the pelvic cavity and targeted at that area (Board, A.D.A.M Editorial, 2011). This type of treatment has been used since the 1950s, but when it is combined with intravenous therapy, it has been found to increase the survival rate for women with advanced stages of ovarian cancer. Usually, the chemotherapy is given in cycles. Each treatment is followed by a rest period. The dosage and frequency of the treatment may vary from daily use to once a month, depending on the type of drug given (Charles, 2012).
Many women worry about the side effects of chemotherapy. These side affects mainly depend on the type of chemotherapy and how much is given. The drugs can...

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