We have always heard the saying that health is wealth, but we hardly realize its importance until we face severe health issues. Nowadays, an increasing number of people die due to fatal diseases, which is an indication of either wrong lifestyle choices or something that is not in our control. The pain of going through a serious disease, especially cancer, and surviving it really takes a toll on our mental health.
Ovarian cancer is one such disease that can affect a woman’s life adversely. If you don’t get the right ovarian cancer treatment at the right time, it can be fatal. This kind of cancer often goes undetected until it spreads to the pelvis and abdomen. In this article, we have discussed some of the most effective treatments for ovarian cancer.
Surgery is of the most common ways of treating ovarian cancer. The main objective of the surgery is to successfully remove the tumour and save the ovaries and the uterus. For women of child-bearing age, if the cancer is diagnosed early, there is a good chance to treat the disease without having to remove the ovaries and the uterus. Usually, after accurately locating the tumour, the surgeon’s goal is to remove as much of it as possible without hurting the patient.
Radiation therapy uses high energy X-rays to kill the cancer cells. This procedure is usually done like a normal X-ray. However, aggressive chemotherapy is believed to deliver better result as compared to radiation therapy. This is why radiation therapy if not used as the main way of treating the cancer in India. Although it is isn’t the primary way of treating, it is used to treat the cancer cells that have spread across to the distant organs of the body. This treatment is usually given for five days a week for several weeks.
Chemotherapy is among the aggressive ways of treating ovarian cancer. This technique is used as a treatment for several other types of cancer as well and is proven to be very effective. Chemotherapy uses drugs that are injected into the patient’s body to kill small amounts of cancer cells that are still at large after the surgery.
Most of the time, chemotherapy drugs are given through veins or orally, but in some cases, it can be injected through catheter directly into the abdominal cavity. There are some side effects of this treatment like loss of appetite, loss of hair, mouth sore etc. However, if done correctly, it will successfully kill all the cancer cells. Further, doctors recommend this treatment only after weighing the pros and cons.
Hormone therapy is rather an unusual way of treating ovarian cancer. In this treatment, hormones or hormone blocking drugs are used to fight back the cancer cells. It is mostly used for treating ovarian stromal tumours and rarely for epithelial ovarian cancer.
LHRH agonists are usually used in hormone therapy, which switches off oestrogen production by the ovaries and this helps in lowering the oestrogen level in the patient’s body. Side effects like early menopause, hot flashes and vaginal dryness are usually observed in patients who have gone through hormonal treatment.
Targeted therapy is a way of treating ovarian cancer in which drugs are used to attack the cancer cells while trying to avoid any damage to the normal cells. The prime objective of this treatment is to disrupt the way in which the cancer cells work.
Different kinds of targeted therapy work differently, but they all have the same objective and that is to change the way in which the cancer cells grow, divide, repair itself and interact with other cells. Some side effects are high blood pressure, tiredness, low white blood cell count, mouth soreness, severe bleeding etc.
Treatment for Germ Cell Ovarian Tumours
If women have benign germ cell tumours, the cancer is cured by removing the part of the ovary that has the tumour. The entire ovary may need to be removed in severe cases. For women with malignant germ cell tumours, a gynaecologist can accurately assess the site as this is a rare case. However, the treatment in this case is mainly surgery and chemotherapy.
Treatment for Low Malignant Potential Tumours
Borderline epithelial tumours are malignant tumours with low potential. However, under ultrasound and CT scan, these tumours look like any other invasive epithelial ovarian cancer tumour. It is hard for doctors to accurately predicate the tumour’s nature; only a biopsy can confirm the accurate state. Usually, surgical removal of affected site is the only solution to treat this kind of ovarian cancer followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
These are the commonly advised treatments for ovarian cancer. A team of specialists evaluate the condition of the patient and advise the right combination of treatment depending on various factors.