Four early signs of ovarian cancer include:
Other symptoms include:
These symptoms are common for a variety of other gynecologic conditions and normal menstrual cycles, so they rarely mean you have ovarian cancer. However, they do provide early warning signs for women who have ovarian cancer.
If these symptoms aren’t normal for you and they continue daily for several weeks, you’ll want to make an appointment at the Center for evaluation.
Dr. Salom or Dr. Tangir begins with a pelvic exam to check your outer genitals, inner structure, and uterus size for any irregularities. If they suspect something is amiss or wants to take a closer look, they might order an ultrasound or CT scan to get a clearer look inside your reproductive system. Next, they may order a CA-125 blood test to check for blood markers of ovarian cancer.
None of these tests are definitive, but together the tests give Dr. Salom or Dr. Tangir enough information to proceed.
To make the final determination, Dr. Salom or Dr. Tangir takes a biopsy of the suspected tissue and sends it to the lab. A pathologist then examines the tissue to determine if it’s cancer. If it is, your doctor orders an MRI or PET scan to see if the cancer has spread. He then creates a treatment plan for you.
Surgery is the most common treatment for ovarian cancer. Surgery for ovarian cancer happens in two stages:
During this procedure, Dr. Salom or Dr. Tangir determine how far the cancer has spread outside the ovary. Typically, the doctor performs a hysterectomy and lymph node biopsy to examine the cancer’s progress. He then sends tissue and fluid samples to a lab for further testing. Staging is a crucial step in determining what stage your cancer is in.
This is a surgery to remove as much of the tumor and surrounding cancerous tissue as possible. Proper debulking gives you a much better prognosis for recovery.
After surgery, Dr. Salom or Dr. Tangir may suggest chemotherapy or radiation to eradicate any leftover cancer cells. If you’d like to discuss your cancer action plan with a gynecologic oncologist, give the center a call or book an appointment online right away.