The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Pelvic pain an early sign of ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer, also known as the “silent killer” due to symptoms occurring late, may no longer be so silent. According to cancer experts from the American Cancer Society, the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation and the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists, identifiable symptoms for ovarian cancer may exist in early stages.

Experts have discovered that abdominal or pelvic pain, bloating, having difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, and urinary problems such as having to go frequently might be early signs of ovarian cancer. Those who experience these symptoms unusually, daily, or even lasting for more than a few weeks should see a doctor, if possible a gynecologist, according to the cancer associations.

Because these symptoms are also associated with other illnesses, experts say those who may be experiencing these symptoms are not always going to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer, although it is better to be checked by a doctor in case early treatment is needed. Other problems beside ovarian cancer may also be cured if diagnosed.

Erin Selve, a mother of four children, finds the advice to be both beneficial and comforting. “It’s good to know that these symptoms now throw up red flags for ovarian cancer,” Selve said. “It’s still hard though because, just like they said, those symptoms can relate to almost anything. Women experience these symptoms quite often even if they’re just not feeling well. ”

While ovarian cancer is known as a tumor that begins in the ovaries of women, experts do not know the direct causes of the cancer. Doctors have found that only early risk factors, which increase a woman’s chance of getting the cancer, can be identified. According to the American Cancer Society, ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cancer found in women, and is also ranked as the fifth cause of cancer death in women.

Because symptoms of ovarian cancer have been difficult to identify, the cancer has been known to be only diagnosed mostly at later stages, after it has increased and spread. Most cases of ovarian cancer have been known to occur after a woman has experienced menopause.

Other symptoms of ovarian cancer include fatigue, upset stomach, back pain, constipation, menstrual changes, or pain during sex. These symptoms are known to occur from other causes and may also be associated with women who are not experiencing ovarian cancer.

Recently, researchers from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York discovered a new drug that may help women who have experienced a return of ovarian cancer after multiple treatments.

The drug, called VEGF Trap (aflibercept), was found to shrink the cancer tumors and keep the disease stable in a preliminary test on 162 women. The drug is an inhibitor, which keeps blood vessels from forming near the tumor while starving it of the nutrients it needs in order to grow.

William Tew, an oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, reported to the American Cancer Association that “one of the most meaningful parts of the study that we’ve seen is that patients who did respond stayed on treatment for quite some time.”

The society also estimates that there will be approximately 22, 430 new cases of ovarian cancer in the U.S. in 2007, while two-thirds of women with ovarian cancer are age 55 or older.

According to the American Cancer Association, a woman’s risk of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer is 1 in 67, while the risk of being diagnosed and dying from the disease is 1 in 95.

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