Ovarian Cancer Treatment
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Ovarian cancer treatment is performed keeping the stage of the cancer in mind. This form of cancer affects the ovaries of women and the treatment is performed by a gynecologic oncologist. A proper planning is done before the treatment is given to the patient so that the treatment is always successful.
The treatment which is provided to the patients of ovarian cancer is focused to remove the cancerous tissues from the organ. This can be done by following ways: -
- Surgery: - Surgery is the first and the most common treatment which any doctor will suggest to the patient. It can be said as the first step to treat this cancer. When the cancer tissues are removed, it is called as called optimal surgical de bulking or optimal cytoreduction. If this surgery is successful then the prognosis of the woman is excellent. This will also deal in a better chemotherapy treatment. This surgery is performed by a gynecologic oncologist; a specialist of women's health, cancer and reproductive system.
- Chemotherapy: - The treatment of chemotherapy is given to the women depending on the stage of the cancer. This is a treatment which is given to the patients who have cancer in stage 1 or stage 2. The cancer after these stages cannot be treated solely by chemotherapy. But this state does not arise. This treatment is hardly given alone and always a combination of treatment is provided to the patients of ovarian cancer. This is a treatment which can be given in two ways. It is either given intravenous or intra muscles. In both the cases, the drug passes through the blood stream destroying the cancerous cells and reaching the site of cancer. This is a systematic therapy which is given to the patients and it holds sessions of treatment as per the stage of the cancer.
- Neoadjuvant chemotherapy: - This type of chemotherapy is used after the cancer has been removed from the ovaries with the help of surgery. It is always risky to perform the surgery in first go because this is a cancer which spreads very fast and it affects a vital organ of the body of a woman. So, when chemotherapy is suggested to the patients before surgery, it is called as neoadjuvant chemotherapy. In simple terms, this is a therapy on ovarian cancer which is used to shrink the cancer and to make it very small so that the surgery is easy to perform on the patient.
- Choice of chemotherapy routine: - Paclitaxel is the most commonly used drug to treat the patent suffering from ovarian cancer. Cisplatin is also one of the most used platinum agents to treat this cancer. These drugs are present in most of the chemotherapy sessions that a woman undergoes; the advantages of these drugs are that they help the woman to fight cancer and reduces the chance of recurrence. The rate of survival after this ovarian cancer treatment also becomes higher. It is also believed that these two drugs have fewer side effects than the common chemotherapy drugs.
- Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy: - In this type of therapy a medicine is placed in the peritoneal area with the help of port and catheter. Intraperitoneal (IP) therapy is an old therapy and is used for this cancer treatment since the year 1950; there have been much new advancements which are combined with this therapy. This is a therapy which can be given in both the ways, intra-venous and intra peritoneal and for a few patients both can be combined and given.
Major side effects of ovarian cancer treatment are: -
- Hair Loss: - This is the most common side effect which is faced by any person after being treated from cancer. In many of the cases the follicles of the hair are damaged after the therapies are performed on the woman, and she tends to lose her body hair. This is not only the hair on the head, but it may be the hair on the face, eyebrows or any part of the body. This may start even after 3 weeks of the treatment but it is temporary.
- Nausea and Vomiting: - Antiemetics is prescribed to a woman after the treatment is given by chemotherapy. This is a drug which works by blocking the signals between the stomach and the brain and thus helps to avoid the feeling of nausea. This is a drug which is most commonly prescribed by all the doctors to minimize the issues created by this side effect.
- Fatigue: - There are various reasons due to which fatigue is experienced by the cancer patients. Both cancer as well as its treatments can cause fatigue. Fatigue is a common side effect which happens after the treatment by radiations and chemotherapy are performed on the patients. Medication used to treat pain, depression, vomiting, and other side effects may cause fatigue.
- Nerve Problems: - A few drugs which are used while performing chemotherapy can cause peripheral neuropathy, which is basically the numbness observed by damage to the nerves which gives out signals between extremities and the central nervous system. This can be a dangerous side effect because many a times it is seen that the control on hands and feet is lost because of the signals passed by the brain to the different parts of the body.
Ovarian cancer treatment is performed on the patient keeping the stage of the cancer in mind. This is a cancer which does not have any alarming signs in the initial stages, and thus it is always observed that this cancer is detected at a later stage which requires a more aggressive treatment.