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NYT: Early Symptoms for Ovarian Cancer Women who have these symptoms for a few weeks--bloating, pelvic pain, difficulty eating, and frequent, urgent need to urinate--should see their doctors and be checked for ovarian cancer. This is the first official recognition that ovarian cancer does cause symptoms at early stages. Ovarian cancer is among the most deadliest cancer, with over 22,430 new cases diagnosed and more than 15,000 deaths expected this year.
The ovaries are located in the pelvis, one each side of the uterus. Each of these female reproductive organs is the size and shape of an almond. During each monthly menstrual cycle, one ovary releases an egg. The egg travels through the fallopian tube to the uterus. Most ovarian cancers are epithelial, originating in the lining tissues of the ovary. Rarer forms of ovarian cancer occur in the stroma, the connective tissue that supports the ovary, and in the germ cells, those that form the egg. The cause of ovarian cancer is unknown. Among women in the U.S., cancer of the ovary is the fourth most common cancer and the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancer. The incidence of ovarian cancer increases steadily with age, with most cases found in women 55 to 75 years of age. It occurs with equal frequency in each of the two ovaries. Early detection of ovarian cancer is difficult because cancer that is limited to the ovary usually does not cause symptoms. An ovarian tumor can grow for som...
Diagnosis Up to 95% of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer will survive longer than 5 years if their cancers are treated before they have spread beyond the ovaries. Unfortunately, there are no screening tests for ovarian cancer that are comparable to mammography for early detection of breast cancer. Therefore, only about 25% of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed at such early stages. It is possible to perform genetic screening in high-risk women, but this raises some complex issues. Annual Gynecologic Checkup Every woman should have a regular annual examination with her doctor that includes: Pelvic examination . Routine pelvic exams are a reasonable precaution, although they are not a perfect screening method. This exam is performed in two ways. The doctor inserts two fingers into the vagina while feeling the abdomen with the other hand. The doctor also performs a bimanual rectovaginal exam, which involves the insertion of one finger into the vagina and another into the rectum. Both exams e...
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