Ovarian cancer is the third most common cancer among Indian women. While this disease only affects women, it can also impact the men who are close to the patient. All too often men don’t know how to respond to ovarian cancer, simply because they are not equipped with the right information. September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month and this article will provide the information you need to understand this topic better.
For someone finding out that they have cancer, can be a very emotional time. When it comes to ovarian cancer, many women feel isolated because it is an intimate problem that they are not comfortable talking about with anyone. What every woman needs in a time like this, is a support system to make her feel cared for, loved, and most importantly; understood. So, let’s understand ovarian cancer
Understanding Ovarian Cancer
Without getting into a detailed biology lesson let’s quickly run through the basics – Every woman has two ovaries, one on either side of the uterus. The primary function of the ovaries is to produce and store the eggs that are required for human reproduction.
Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the ovaries but can then spread to the surrounding organs including the uterus, intestines and abdomen. Cancer can be hereditary, caused because of certain medical conditions, or the effect of some hormonal drugs. The cancer results when the ovarian cells start to grow out of control and form tumours in and around the ovaries. When these cancerous cells move to other parts of the body, cancer has spread.
Unfortunately, in most cases, ovarian cancer is not detected until it has already spread. By this time, treatment of the disease can be difficult. The best time to treat ovarian cancer is before it spreads, which is why early diagnosis is extremely important. Treatment of ovarian cancer usually includes surgery to remove the ovaries and the uterus. Small samples from surrounding organs are also taken at this time to check if cancer has spread. The patient will need to undergo a course of radiation to destroy any cancerous cells that might not have been removed.
But as a man, what can you do? You can encourage the women you care about to get regular check-ups to test for ovarian cancer. It is a good idea that all women above the age of 35 should get annual cancer checks. Because of its hereditary nature, if a woman has a family history of ovarian cancer, she should talk to a gynaecologist at the earliest and find out about putting a regular test schedule in place. When it comes to ovarian cancer nothing beats early detection and treatment.
7 Ovarian Cancer Symptoms To Watch Out For:
- Bloating or swelling in the abdomen.
- Weight loss.
- Loss of appetite.
- Feeling full quickly.
- Pelvic discomfort.
- Constipation and irregular bowels.
- Frequent urination.
Dealing With Ovarian Cancer
While the diagnosis can be stressful, the treatment of ovarian cancer can also be physically tiring. It is important for the patient to get lots of rest and eat a healthy diet. A dietician is usually assigned to the patient to advise them on what they should and shouldn’t eat. Sugar is completely removed from the diet and foods that help to build immunity are included. Following the diet strictly can help to speed up recovery. Meditation and taking up a relaxing hobby can help a patient de-stress and heal faster.
If ovarian cancer has been diagnosed, don’t hesitate to talk about it with the patient. Offer support and comfort as this could be a scary time.