Ovarian and Metastatic Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer is a growth of abnormal malignant cells that begins in the ovaries (women’s reproductive glands that produce eggs). It accounts for approximately 3% of cancers in women. Ovarian cancer is more common in white women than African-American women and about half of the women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are projected to be 63 years or older. A woman’s risk of getting invasive ovarian cancer in her lifetime is about 1 in 75.
Unfortunately, the cause of ovarian cancer is unknown and currently there are no reliable screening tests for the early detection of ovarian cancer. However, new studies indicate that ovarian cancer has recognizable symptoms, even in early stage disease. Knowing these symptoms can help save a woman’s life. If symptoms are detected early and the disease is confined to the ovary, it can be treated successfully.
Warning signs of ovarian cancer may include:
- Abdominal bloating
- Ongoing pain or cramps in the pelvis or back
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Feeling full quickly after eating
- Unusual fatigue
- Frequent urination
These symptoms can be caused by many conditions that are not cancer. If they occur persistently for more than a few weeks, report them to your health care professional
By the time ovarian cancer is considered as a possible cause of these symptoms, it has usually already spread beyond the ovaries to the lymph nodes, abdomen, pelvis or surrounding tissue. Prompt attention to symptoms may improve the odds of early diagnosis and successful treatment. If you have symptoms similar to those of ovarian cancer almost daily for more than a few weeks and they can’t be explained by other more common conditions, report them to your health care professional, preferably a gynecologist, immediately.
Depending on the cancer stage, ovarian cancer treatment includes surgery, chemotherapy, cyberknife radiosurgery and standard radiation.
Metastatic Ovarian Cancer
Metastatic ovarian cancer is cancer that has spread from the ovary where it first started, the primary site, to another place in the body. When cancer cells break away from a tumor, they can travel to other areas of the body through the bloodstream or the lymph system (which contains a collection of vessels that carry fluid and immune system cells). Metastatic ovarian cancer has the same name and the same type of cancer cells as the primary cancer. For example, ovarian cancer that spreads to the abdomen and forms a metastatic tumor is metastatic ovarian cancer, not abdominal cancer.
Treatment for Metastatic Ovarian Cancer
Chemotherapy, surgery and standard radiation are often used to treat metastatic ovarian cancer however, stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) performed by the CyberKnife has emerged as an excellent treatment option for those patients who are not surgical candidates, failed chemotherapy treatment, or have run the course of treatments and told there is nothing left to do. The CyberKnife has the ability to constantly track and target tumors as they move with normal respiration and can precisely destroy cancer cells in just 1 to 5 treatments or a course of treatment. The number of courses required to treat metastatic tumors depend on how many tumors are present and if they are in close proximity to each other. Research continues to demonstrate the efficacy and high success rates for treating metastatic cancers with CyberKnife and SBRT.
The benefits of SBRT with the CyberKnife far outweighs any potential risks, which are minimal. CyberKnife treatment is:
§ Completely non-invasive: Despite its name, there is no knife or cutting involved.
§ Painless with few to no side effects: You can resume your normal activities immediately following treatment.
§ Quick: Each treatment typically lasts only 30 to 90 minutes.
§ Cost-effective: CyberKnife is performed on an outpatient basis and does not require hospitalization or anesthesia. Furthermore, patients typically require only 1 to 5 treatments instead of 10 to 45 treatments with conventional radiation therapy.
§ Precise: The radiation is so targeted that it spares the normal healthy tissue surrounding the tumor or lesion.
§ Highly successful: The radiation delivered is so precise that tumors dissolve, and if they come back, we can treat them again if necessary.
§ Alternative treatment option for certain patients: Those who are not candidates for surgery, chemotherapy or who have been previously treated with radiation may be a candidate for CyberKnife.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with early stage ovarian or metastatic ovarian cancer, the radiation oncologists at CyberKnife Center of Miami are here to help. We have successfully treated many patients diagnosed with metastatic ovarian cancer, some who were even told that there was nothing more that could be done for them. If you think that you might be a candidate for CyberKnife and SBRT call our office today to set up a consultation with one of our board certified radiation oncologists.