Stages Of Ovarian Cancer
As with many forms of cancer, ovarian cancer is classified upon diagnosis as being in different stages of development.
Stage I growth is limited to just the ovaries.
Stage II growth has spread outside the ovaries but not outside the pelvis.
Stage III growth has spread outside the ovaries and either beyond the pelvis or to the lymph nodes.
Stage IV growth has spread to outside organs such as the lungs or liver. This is the most advanced stage of cancer.
Seeing Myself In A Wig For The First Time Was Slightly Surreal But A Relief
Jo Beagley was diagnosed with stage 3C ovarian cancer in 2014. Here she describes how losing her hair as a result of chemotherapy took her on an emotional journey.
“With the diagnosis of Stage 3C ovarian cancer came the news of chemotherapy and the strong likelihood of hair loss. I knew I was lucky to be in a position where treatment was an option but hair loss still became an overriding preoccupation.
Id never had short hair and as someone whose hair had largely been unchanged for 15 plus years Id come to feel my hair was part of what defined me.
The cold cap didnt sound particularly pleasant but I decided to give it a go. It wasnt as bad as Id feared and, as a nurse had said, get through the initial 15 minutes and youre OK.
I ended up using the cold cap for the first two chemo cycles. It didnt look great a basin type helmet, secured with a neoprene overlay and chin strap attached to a refrigeration unit.
When the time came to remove the cold cap after the chemo had been administered, I was slightly aghast to find my hair was actually frozen to the helmet and I had to wait a few minutes for it to defrost.
In hindsight I wonder whether the cold cap would have been more effective if I had cut my hair shorter before my chemo.
Five weeks into my chemo I noticed more hairs were coming out than normal. I started going out in the garden to run my hands through my hair somehow it wasnt quite as stark as seeing the hair mount up on the carpet.
Tips For Possible Complete Hair Loss
- Ask about a wig before you start treatment, so you can match the colour and texture of your real hair.
- If you are feeling adventurous, choose a wig for a whole new look why not try the colour and style you’ve always wanted!
- Think about having your hair gradually cut short before your treatment starts – this might help you get used to seeing yourself with less hair.
- Some people shave their hair off completely to avoid the distress of seeing their hair fall out.
- Wear a hair net at night so you won’t wake up with hair all over your pillow, which can be upsetting.
- Keep your head warm in cooler weather – some people wear a soft hat in bed.
- Rub in oil or moisturiser if your scalp feels dry and itchy, try unperfumed products such as Epaderm, Hydromol or Doublebase.
- Try a moisturising liquid instead of soap if your scalp is dry, for example aqueous cream, Oilatum or Diprobase.
- Protect your scalp by covering your head in the sun – your scalp is particularly sensitive to the sun.
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The Initial Causes Is Body Hair Loss Symptom Of Ovarian Cancer
The main cause of hair loss is stress. While most of us shed about 50 to 100 strands of hair daily, we also continue to grow new ones at the same rate. This shedding is normal, and its perfectly natural to replace lost hair with new ones. However, if youre losing hair that is excessively slow or isnt growing back, youre experiencing hair fall. There are many possible causes for this condition, but theres no one single solution.
Tinea capitis, also known as scalp ringworm, is a fungal infection that affects the scalp. Symptoms include bald spots and patches of hair loss. Infection may be caused by fungus, and scaly, red patches may develop. In severe cases, sores may develop on the scalp and oozing pus may be present. Treatment with a prescription may be necessary, but the long-term results of taking these medications are not always permanent.
In some cases, temporary hair loss may be the result of a hormonal imbalance. While some women experience hair loss due to hormonal fluctuations, others may experience permanent loss of hair. These changes can be caused by hormones in the body, such as those produced by the thyroid or by the adrenal glands. In severe cases, the loss of hair is caused by medical conditions. Inflammatory diseases can cause an excess of androgen, a male hormone. High levels of vitamin A in the blood and in the body can also result in hair thinning.
Common Ovarian Cancer Symptoms
Some ovarian cancer symptoms, like abdominal bloating, pelvic pain, indigestion, and fatigue, may overlap with symptoms of other, noncancerous diseases. However, in cases of ovarian cancer, these symptoms will be more persistent and change over time. For example, they may become more severe or occur more often. Trying unsuccessfully to treat these symptoms with changes in diet, exercise, or medication may also point to a more serious problem. If you have symptoms more than 12 times a month, it is a good idea to see your doctor.
Keep in mind that each person will experience symptoms differently. Listen to your body, and when you feel that something is wrong, speak with your doctor about your concerns. They will likely conduct a pelvic exam and may send you for further testing.
Read more about diagnosing ovarian cancer.
Epithelial and germ cell ovarian cancer do not show the same symptoms as stromal cell ovarian cancer. Epithelial ovarian cancer involves the cells covering the outside of the ovaries while ovarian germ cell cancer arises from egg cells in the ovaries. Surface epithelial tumors are the most common and dangerous, because 70 percent of women are not diagnosed until the cancer has progressed to an advanced stage. Symptoms often go unrecognized until the cancer has spread to other organs surrounding the ovaries.
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Treatment Of Ovarian Cancers
After an initial diagnosis, a patient should visit a gynecologic oncologist to determine a proper treatment plan. Treatment options depend upon the type and severity of the disease and often involve a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The gynecologic cancer specialist should discuss each option, success rates, possible side effects and other treatment details with each patient.
Treatment is most effective during early stages of the disease.
Are There Different Types Of Chemotherapy
Two types of chemotherapy your healthcare provider may suggest include chemotherapy for platinum-sensitive disease and chemotherapy for platinum-resistant disease. People who had a good response to initial platinum-based chemotherapy and recur six months or more after completion of therapy are considered to have platinum-sensitive or drug-sensitive disease and have the greatest likelihood of responding to the same or similar treatment again.
In general, the longer the chemotherapy-free interval , the greater the response to second-line chemotherapy, although this treatment may not last as long as the first. The goals of second-line chemotherapy for recurrent ovarian cancer include:
- Improving your quality of life.
- Delaying the time for further cancer progression and development of symptoms.
- Prolonging survival.
People that did not respond favorably to initial chemotherapy or with disease that recurred within six months of completion of initial platinum-based chemotherapy , are considered to have platinum-resistant or drug-resistant disease.
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Ovarian Cancer Symptom Or Treatment Side Effect
Oftentimes, it can be difficult to tell the difference between the symptoms of ovarian cancer and the side effects of treatment. Common treatments for ovarian cancer include chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted inhibitors, and occasionally radiation therapy. Some side effects you can expect from ovarian cancer treatment include:
- Nausea or upset stomach
Who Is At Risk For Ovarian Cancer
- Age: Risk increases for women over age 50, but most cases are diagnosed at age 65 or above.
- Obesity: Increases lifetime risk for ovarian cancer by about 2%.
- Use of talcum powder in the genital area: Increases lifetime risk by about 0.5%.
- Endometriosis: Causes cell changes throughout the reproductive organs and slightly increases the risk for ovarian cancer.
- Hormone replacement therapy: 5 years of HRT results in 1 additional ovarian cancer diagnosis per 1,000 HRT users.
- Smoking: Increases the risk of ovarian cancer by approximately 3%.
- Diabetes: Increases your risk of developing ovarian cancer by 20%-25%.
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> > > Best Hair Loss Solution Available
Another way to treat hair loss is to undergo a surgical procedure. This is a surgery that uses a small piece of scalp, which contains hair follicles. The procedure is expensive and is not covered by insurance. If the balding area is large, it may not be possible to find sufficient hair for transplant. This method requires two surgeries, so the cost can vary from person to person. The surgery can be covered by your insurance provider, but it is not cheap.
Surgical procedures to correct the underlying problem are available as well. In some cases, doctors may use birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, or antiandrogen medications to correct the hormonal imbalances. If the cause of your hair loss is a psychiatric disorder, you will need to consult with a doctor to determine the best treatment options for you. Sometimes, you may need to undergo more than one surgery, so it is best to seek help from a dermatologist.
The first step in treating hair loss is to see a doctor. Your physician will run a blood test to determine the cause of your hair loss. This will help you choose the most effective treatment. Your doctor may prescribe a medication to stop your hair growth. Patients with psychiatric problems may also require special consultations and treatments. A therapist will be able to help you deal with your underlying psychiatric condition.
About Hair Loss Or Hair Thinning
Hair loss is one of the most well known side effects of cancer treatment. For many people losing their hair can be distressing and devastating.
It can be a constant reminder of your cancer and what youre going through. But for most people, their hair will grow back once treatment has finished.
Cancer drugs can cause:
- mild thinning of your hair
- partial hair loss, or loss of patches of hair
- complete hair loss
Chemotherapy is the type of cancer drug treatment most likely to cause hair loss.
Complete hair loss is very unlikely with any other type of treatment. But some other cancer drugs can cause hair thinning. It is not possible to tell beforehand who will be affected or how badly.
Hair loss also depends on factors such as:
- the type of drug or combination of drugs you are taking
- the dose
- the route
- how sensitive you are to the drug
- your drug treatment in the past
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What Is Brca1 Or Brca2
Normally, BRCA1 and BRCA2 are tumor suppressor genes that halt abnormal cell growth in the ovaries. If 1 of these genes mutates, it can increase your risk of developing cancer. You have a 50% chance of inheriting the BRCA gene mutation if 1 of your parents has it.
Women with a mutation in either their BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes have 10-to-30 times increased risk of ovarian cancer. BRCA1 increases the chance of ovarian cancer even more than BRCA2.
Genetic testing for BRCA1 or BRCA2 gives you information about your predisposition of developing ovarian cancer. While it sounds rare, 1 in every 500 women in the United States has a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation.
Signs And Symptoms Of Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer may cause several signs and symptoms. Women are more likely to have symptoms if the disease has spread, but even early-stage ovarian cancer can cause them. The most common symptoms include:
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
- Urinary symptoms such as urgency or frequency
These symptoms are also commonly caused by benign diseases and by cancers of other organs. When they are caused by ovarian cancer, they tend to be persistent and a change from normal for example, they occur more often or are more severe. These symptoms are more likely to be caused by other conditions, and most of them occur just about as often in women who dont have ovarian cancer. But if you have these symptoms more than 12 times a month, see your doctor so the problem can be found and treated if necessary.
Others symptoms of ovarian cancer can include:
- Changes in a woman’s period, such as heavier bleeding than normal or irregular bleeding
- Abdominal swelling with weight loss
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
Goff, B. A., Mandel, L. S., Drescher, C. W., Urban, N., Gough, S., Schurman, K. M., Patras, J., Mahony, B. S. and Andersen, M. R. , Development of an ovarian cancer symptom index. Cancer, 109: 221-227.
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Answers From The Community
My major symptoms of ovarian cancer appeared suddenly. One minute I was full of energy and wanting to get out of the house and do things. Then it abruptly hit and I had pain in my right lower abdomen any time I moved. After a couple of days, I started to get a low fever. I then went to see my doctor because I thought I might be having an appendicitis. She thought that it was a possibility and checked me into the hospital. While in the hospital getting tests done, I started feeling very bloated and my abdomen became larger than normal. An earlier symptom I had was that my stools were getting smaller around due to my ovarian tumor pressing on my colon. I may have had other symptoms but I attributed them to menopause.
I started having ear aches and jaw pain. I blew it off because I had just had dental work and thought I had a dry socket, so the dentist treated me for that with antibiotics and pain pills. Well, it kept getting worse and then my throat became sore and swallowing was painful. when I finally went to the ENT, he felt around and within 2 days I was diagnosed with tongue cancer.
I had pain in my right breast along with a large lump, but everyone kept telling me it can’t be cancer because cancer doesn’t hurt, so I thought I had some type of infection, so when the doctor came back after the biopsy & told me it was cancer I was shocked. The doctor said cancer usually doesn’t hurt but everybody is different. Oh yea my breast also bled alot.