Ovarian cancer is a disease that scares many women. Anxiety is backed up with the fact that ovarian cancer is widely known by its non-specific symptoms, which often leads to not being revealed until later stages, thus making it more dangerous. Because of this some refers to ovarian cancer as an ‘insidious disease.’
“Each year, about 20,000 women in the United States get ovarian cancer. Among women in the United States, ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cancer and the fifth leading cause of cancer death, after lung and bronchus, breast, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers. Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system, but it accounts for only about 3% of all cancers in women. When ovarian cancer is found in its early stages, treatment is most effective,” CDC informs.
This type of cancer is predominantly treated with surgery and/or chemotherapy, partly because it is often diagnosed at a late stage. Additionally, it has a high recurrence rate, and a much lower survival rate than other cancers that affect women. Ovarian cancer is most often diagnosed in menopausal women, between age of 55 and 64, but it can occur regardless of age. In some cases, women will not have any early symptoms that might suggest something is wrong, and in others the symptoms are vague and atypical. They can include a sense of bloating, pain in the abdomen and pelvis, loss of appetite or rapid feeling of fullness during a meal, urinary problems such as a sudden need to urinate or the contrary – a frequent need to urinate, constipation, or diarrhea. Symptoms for this insidious disease sometimes begin suddenly and are different from the usual menstrual pains and digestive disturbances. And if they originate from the ovarian cancer, they will eventually deteriorate. If you notice some of this signs, tall to your doctor.
Risk factors for this serious disease are: family or personal cancer history, smoking, never having given birth or having had trouble getting pregnant, diagnosed endometriosis, being middle-aged or older, and having an Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish background.
It is a widespread misapprehension that Pap tests diagnosis ovarian cancer, but it does not, it only screens for cervical cancer.
Recent news reports that dogs are being trained to smell ovarian cancer. Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania’s Working Dog Center are currently training dogs to detect compounds pointing toward the ovarian cancer in tissue samples, thanks to their advanced smell radars. The first results are encouraging and the aim is to successfully train dogs to sense this type of cancer in blood samples, or even on samples of saliva and urine, said the director of the Working Dog Center, Dr. Cynthia Otto. The final objective of this unusual experiment is to develop effective and inexpensive screening tests based on obtained information of defining components in ovarian cancer,.
Since there are other studies that demonstrate that dogs can detect lung and bladder cancer, there is a basis for hope that it will be successful with the ovarian cancer as well, and that it will no longer be known as an insidious disease.
By: Milica Zujko