A new technique to treat Ovarian Cancer, the “silent killer”
Ovarian Cancer is considered to be a life threatening disease and the awareness is still relatively in its nascent stage. However Manipal Comprehensive Cancer Center in Bangalore has come up a new treatment to combat this deadly disease.
According to a study by the National Cancer Institute it is estimated that 21,880 women were diagnosed with cancer of the ovary in the year 2010. Ovarian cancer usually happens in women over the age of 50, but it can also affect younger women. It is among the leading cause of death in female cancer patients across the world. Ovarian cancer is a disease that affects ovarian tissue in the female reproductive system and is often referred as the ‘silent killer’ because there are no early warning signs, or symptoms aren't noticeable until the advanced stages, when it is less treatable.
Though there are no exact causes identified for Ovarian Cancer, early ovarian cancer symptoms may include: changes in bowel habits like constipation or diarrhea, pelvic pain or pressure and frequent urge to urinate. “Unfortunately proper proved screening methods are not yet established in Ovarian Cancer unlike in Cervical Cancers. The purpose of screening is to diagnose ovarian cancer at an early stage to avoid further complications. Persistent symptoms that continue for several weeks need to be addressed immediately. The standard treatment for Ovarian Cancer is surgery and chemotherapy. Since, many chemotherapy drugs have been failed to improve the overall survival rate, a new method of giving chemotherapy has been invented to improve the surgical method,” says, Dr. Somashekhar, Consultant Oncologist, Manipal Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Ovarian cancer primarily spreads in the abdomen and remains confined to it over a long period. Small tumor deposits occur all over the abdomen and removal of all these deposits is tedious and difficult. According to Dr. Somashekhar the routine chemotherapy for ovarian cancer is usually given in the veins and that causes thrombosis of the veins (Blood clot in the deep veins) and discoloration of the skin. And over the years, this treatment could not increase the survival rate. And in order to overcome the side effects and also to increase the survival, new method of giving chemotherapy has been invented. He believes that the new treatment is more effective because, it directly acts on the tumor in the abdomen.
Further explaining about the new technology to treat Ovarian Cancer, Dr. Somashekhar says “We use CUSA ( A machine which acts on the principle of lysis and suction of tumor deposits without damaging the important surrounding structures) a special instrument to remove all these deposits. There is no blood loss or scarring associated with this procedure. It effectively removes even small cancer deposits. So far we have treated more than 60 patients using the new method treatment. The recurrence is less and survival has tremendously improved. Ever since we have started using these two special devices and methods our optimal cytoreduction rates and success have jumped to more than 90%.”
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