Cancer of the Ovary (Ovarian Cancer)
Most ovarian tumors in women under age 30 are benign, fluid-filled cysts. These cysts are not cancerous. There are several types of ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer that begins on the surface of the ovary (epithelial carcinoma) is the most common type. Women who have a family history of ovarian cancer are at an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. Hereditary ovarian cancer makes up approximately 5 to 10% of all cases of ovarian cancer. Three hereditary patterns have been identified: ovarian cancer alone, ovarian and breast cancers, and ovarian and colon cancers. Ovarian cancer is hard to detect early because there usually are no symptoms and those symptoms that do occur tend to be vague. Detection of ovarian cancer is facilitated, but is not made by pelvic exam, ultrasound, x-ray tests, and CA-125 blood test. The diagnosis is made by biopsy of the ovary. As physician, I have considerations about cutting on potentially cancerous tissue in that it may cause the early spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body. If this were a situation in my family, I would want to insist on immediate removal of a cancerous organ as part of the same procedure which involved the biopsy. This is not the usual protocol, but I would insist on it.