The incidences of ovarian cancer may not be as high as that of breast cancer. Nonetheless, ovarian cancer is a matter of concern because often it’s diagnosed when cancer has already spread to the pelvis and abdomen. Why is early detection difficult? Are there any ways to detect ovarian cancer before it becomes too late? Let’s find out.
The issue with early detection
Symptoms rarely show up at the onset of ovarian cancer. Even if they do, they are so generic that they are often mistaken to be signs of common harmless health conditions and hence are often not even noticed. These symptoms include:
- A bloated abdomen
- Reduced appetite or feeling full after eating a small of amount food
- Discomfort in the lower abdomen
- Sudden changes in the bowel movement or constipation
- An urge to urinate more frequently than usual
- Sudden changes in the menstrual cycle
- Vaginal bleeding despite not being on a period
Moreover, ovarian cancer has no screening test, unlike breast and cervical cancers. Nor does it have any vaccination as yet.
When to be alert
The key for detecting ovarian cancer in early stages is to be conscious of the aforementioned symptoms and visit a reputed gynaecologist and/ or oncologist immediately especially if you can associate with any of the following ovarian cancer risk factors–
- A family history of either ovarian, breast, colon and uterine cancer
- Being overweight
- Never been pregnant or experiencing full-term pregnancy for the first time beyond the age of 35
- Been through fertility treatment
- Undergone long-term hormone replacement treatment (especially estrogenic)
- Being within the age range of 45 to 65 years
- Earlier onset of menses as a child
- Delayed onset of menopause
The good news
With advancements in science and medical technology, it now maybe possible to detect ovarian cancer in its early stages. A well-versed gynaecologist and/ or oncologist may recommend a PET CT scan for people with the abovementioned risk factors. The unique aspect of a PET CT scan is that it enables dual imaging of the body anatomical imaging and functional imaging. Anatomical imaging helps detect the smallest of smallest tumour that may go undetected by a regular scan. While functional imaging helps highlight any and every part of the body where cell growth or hormonal activity or blood flow is abnormally high – signs that may indicate the early stages of cancer.
That’s why when you choose a hospital, it’s not just important to opt for a reliable and experienced gynaecologist, oncologist and radiologist. Making sure to select a hospital that’s equipped with the best and latest medical technologies is also equally crucial for ovarian cancer diagnosis and treatment. Regency Healthcare is one such medical institute where you get the best of both worlds – medical knowledge and state-of-the-art facilities. In fact, Regency Healthcare is the only multi-speciality hospital in Kanpur that has a PET CT scan machine available.