Ovarian Cancer | Ovarian Cancer Symptoms & Signs, 6th most common cancer in Singapore, and Ovarian cancer is more common in the Caucasian. 

Ovarian cancer is a malignant tumor in one or both ovaries. There are 4 main types of ovarian cancer; the most common type is epithelial ovarian tumor.

Q: What causes ovarian cancer?

The cause of ovarian cancer is unknown, although there are some factors which seem to put women at a higher risk. Some of the risk factors are:

. Women with few pregnancies or who have never been pregnant
. Women who have never been on contraceptive pills
. Family history of the disease
. High fatty diet, and
. Mumps virus
Ovarian cancer is more common in the Caucasian.

Q: How is ovarian cancer diagnosed?

The diagnosis may be difficult, however, the following Ovarian symptoms & signs may be present:

. Feeling of discomfort, bloated feeling in the abdomen
. Change in bowel habits
. Flatulence & indigestion
. Symptoms related to the kidney or bladder
. Abnormal vaginal bleeding
. Pain in the abdomen
. Enlarged abdomen from the tumour, and
. Loss of weight

During physical examination, a doctor may be able to detect a lump or fluid in the abdomen. Additional diagnostic methods include blood tests, routine chest & abdominal x-rays, ultrasound of the lower abdomen, and barium enema. The gold standard, however, is a laparotomy.

Q: What are the treatments available for ovarian cancer?

These include a laparotomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

A laparatomy is an operation in the abdomen. Tissue samples are removed and sent for laboratory investigation. The results of these biopsies will show the extent and the type of the disease. Very often, the ovaries and fallopian tubes, the entire uterus and the surrounding organs are also removed.

Chemotherapy is almost always recommended for ovarian cancer in advanced stage. This involves the use of anticancer drugs to destroy and stop cancer cells from multiplying. Chemotherapy works best when the remaining tumour is small in amount and is usually given through an intravenous drip.

Radiotherapy is occasionally used, especially if the tumour is confined to the pelvis.

Q: What happens after one has gone through the treatment?

She may experience menopausal symptoms and therefore may require hormone replacement therapy. There may also be bowel problems. If she has symptoms of vomiting, discomfort or pain in the abdomen, then she should see a doctor immediately.

Other problems she may have after treatment are accumulation of fluid in the legs, in the abdomen and in the chest.
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