It is one of the most common cancers among women, but it is still difficult to detect at an early stage and this greatly affects its mortality.
Ovarian Cancer – with the latest Mexican actress Edith González’s latest death – is usually hidden “until it is in a phase three or even four”Professor Sudha Sundar, gynecological cancer specialist at the University of Birmingham (UK).
At this time The chances of surviving the disease are reduced drastically.
“90% of women diagnosed at an early stage will survive after five years of diagnosis, but that percentage will decrease to 40 or even 30% if cancer is detected later,” explains Doctor Sundar.
One of the reasons is the symptoms.
“Just over the past five or six years, we have been able to relate ovarian cancer to specific symptoms before it thought it was a deadly silent disease,” says specialist.
The British Public Health Service (NHS, for its acronym in English) and the Mayo Clinic in the United States show that these are the most common signs of the disease:
- Abdominal swelling
- Fast sense of fullness when eating
- Significant weight loss or profit
- Busy in the pelvic area
- Changes in bowel habits that begin to suffer from constipation or diarrhea
- Often you need to urinate
The problem is that these symptoms They are common with other diseases Less severe, such as irritable bowel syndrome, premenstrual or menopausal pain.
The consequence, says Professor Sundar, is that women do not matter, primary care professionals do not associate these symptoms with cancer first and the disease continues to develop into a late stage.
Medical exams to discover it
But curious, unlike what happens to other gynecological cancers such as cervical cancer, where there are screening tests and even vaccines, when it comes to ovarian cancer, we have not developed so much.
If suspected, the doctor may palpate the ovaries to see if there is any abnormality in size, shape and consistency, but barely a pelvic sample can detect ovarian tumors at an early stage, ensuring that American Cancer Society on your website.
There are also specific tests, mostly two, but no one is routinely done, or they have proven to be reliable enough.
One is lblood test CA-125, which measures the presence in the blood of the protein of the same name.
Many women with ovarian cancer have high levels of CA-125, but not all. In addition, not all women who have been found to have a large proportion of this protein have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
“Unfortunately (this test) only detects half of the cases of ovarian cancer at its early stage, says Professor Sundar on this test dated from the 90s.
Another is ultrasonic testing (or transvaginal ultrasound).
With the help of sound waves, this test examines the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries with the intention of finding mass (tumor) in the ovary, but cannot detect if that tumor is benign or malignant.
“The ultrasound test may, in some cases, help but not as accurately as we would like,” regrets the academic, admitting that it is a challenge for the scientific community to find more reliable tests to detect it. early.
Until then, she insists that if the women continue to suffer from any of the above symptoms, the wo-man goes to the doctor and is patient so that they can perform all possible tests.
Sundar also says that we must pay attention to risk factors as a family history where there have been cases of ovarian or breast cancer.
This type of cancer mainly affects women from the age of 70, but also occurs in some women before menopause, says the expert.