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Annette Mattern: What Every Woman Should Know About Ovarian Cancer January 4, 2009

Posted by patoconnor in cancer, gynecological cancer, ovarian cancer, tubal cancer, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer.
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Annette Mattern: What Every Woman Should Know About Ovarian Cancer

“How do I know if I have ovarian cancer?” the question most asked by women about the disease that, for years, was called the silent killer. Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death among U.S. women and yet, most women know very little about it.
What you should know:

1. Every woman is at risk.
2. One is 72 women will develop ovarian cancer; one in 95 women will die from it.
3. Increased risk factors:
• Personal history of breast cancer
• Family history of breast or ovarian cancer.
• BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, responsible for 5-10% of ovarian cancers. Women of Ashkenazi Jewish descent are at higher risk of carrying these mutations.
4. There is no screening tool, not even the PAP, so it is critical that women recognize the symptoms as early as possible.
• Stage I recurrence rate is only 10%.
• Stage III or IV (about 75% of cases) recur 85-95% of the time. Their 5-year survival rate is only 46%.
5. 95% of women with ovarian cancer experience symptoms, 90% at early stage. Symptoms:
• Bloating
• Pelvic or abdominal pain
• Difficulty eating or feeling full too quickly
• Urinary urgency or frequency

Other symptoms: fatigue, indigestion, back pain, pain with intercourse, constipation and menstrual irregularities.

What you should do:

If you exhibit persistent symptoms for more than a few weeks and this is not normal for your body, see a gynecologist. Your exam may include a CA-125 blood test, pelvic exam, and a trans-vaginal ultrasound. The only conclusive way to determine if it is cancer is by performing a biopsy.

Help spread the word.

Most women with ovarian cancer were misdiagnosed for years while their cancer spread. An earlier diagnosis is a woman’s best hope for a good prognosis.

Bio notes:
Annette Mattern is a 21-year survivor of ovarian cancer and recently survived breast cancer. She is the founder and president of the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Arizona and serves on the board of directors of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. Her book on survival, Outside The Lines of Love, Life, and Cancer, is available on http://www.amazon.com.

Links: http://www.ocaz.org
http://www.ovariancancer.org

Tumour suppressing gene key to ovarian cancer regeneration January 4, 2009

Posted by patoconnor in cancer, gynecological cancer, ovarian cancer, tubal cancer, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer.
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Tumor suppressing gene key to ovarian cancer regeneration Washington (IANS):

A single tumour-suppressing gene is a key to unravel how dormant ovarian cancer cells that persist after initial treatment, to reawaken years later, according to a new study.

The study found that expression of a gene called ARHI (aplasia Ras homolog member I) acts as a switch for autophagy, or self-cannibalisation, in ovarian cancer cells. Often a mechanism for cancer cell death, in this case “self-eating” acts as a survival mechanism for dormant cancer cells.

“Prolonged autophagy is lethal to cancer cells, but a little autophagy can help dormant cancer cells survive, possibly by avoiding starvation,” said the study’s co-author Robert Bast, vice-president for translational research at Texas University MD Anderson Cancer Centre.

“Dormant cells are a major problem in ovarian cancer, breast cancer and other malignancies,” Bast said. “We often see ovarian cancer removed, leaving no remaining sign of disease. After two or three years, the cancer grows back. If any remaining cancer cells had continued to grow normally, the disease should have returned in weeks or months.

“So the assumption is that some cells remain dormant without dividing and without developing a blood supply, but the mechanism for this has not been well understood,” Bast said.

Bast and colleagues focused on ARHI, a gene found in normal cells, but that is underexpressed in 60-70 per cent of ovarian cancers.

When normal levels of ARHI were restored to ovarian cancer cells in the laboratory, autophagy was induced and cancer cells died within a few days.

These findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Hindu News Service

Tragic results of suboptimal gynecologic cancer operations. January 4, 2009

Posted by patoconnor in cancer, gynecological cancer, ovarian cancer, tubal cancer, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer.
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Tragic results of suboptimal gynecologic cancer operations.

Eur J Gynaecol Oncol. 2008

Kuyumcuoğlu U, Kale A.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dicle University School of Medicine Diyarbakir, Turkey.

OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to analyze gynecological cancer patients who underwent suboptimal or failed surgeries with unsatisfactory and undesired results.

STUDY DESIGN: During 1997-2007, 74 women were referred to our gynecological oncology service after suboptimal or failed surgeries for ovarian, cervix, endometrium and vulvar cancers. Medical records were evaluated retrospectively to determine the reasons of suboptimal surgery.

RESULTS: Optimal cytoreduction was achieved in ten women (21.7%), 32 women (69.5%) had suboptimal surgical cytoreduction and four women (8.6%) had failed surgery, Seven patients were recurrences (3 had liver metastasis, 2 had pelvic metastasis, 2 had bladder metastasis); two patients died due to bladder metastasis, one patient died six days after surgery due to a pulmonary embolism in the suboptimal cytoreduction group, and one patient died due to ascites in the failed surgery group. Optimal surgery was achieved in three women (27.2%) and eight women (72.7%) had suboptimal surgery in the cervical cancer population. One patient had a recurrence with pelvic metastasis in the suboptimal group. Suboptimal surgery was achieved in one woman with vulvar cancer. Optimal surgery was achieved in seven women (43.7%) and nine women (56.2%) had suboptimal surgery in the endometrial cancer population. One patient died 11 days after surgery due to sepsis in the optimal surgery group. One patient died 21 months after primary surgery and the other patient had a recurrence with paraaortic lymph nodes, ascites and omental thickening in the suboptimal surgery group. The prognosis of 30 (65.2%) women in the ovarian cancer population, eight (72.7%) women in the cervical cancer group, 11 (68.7%) women in the endometrial cancer group, and one woman (100%) in the vulvar cancer population was unknown. The unknown cases of all genital cancers were missed during followup and we could not reach them using their phone or address information.

CONCLUSION: If a gynecologist does not have enough experience or expertise about gynecological cancer operations, he or she must consider the possible harm that any surgical intervention might do, as the latin phrase “primum non nocere” means and should refer patients to a gynecological oncology center without performing any surgery. Optimal gynecologic surgery can only be carried out correctly when education becomes available throughout the world. Thus postgraduate fellowship programs should be considered urgently to extend the general gynecologists’ surgical experience and expertise in developing and undeveloped countries.

Editor’s Note:

This is critical, especially now that we are seeing such a significant rise in leg swelling (leg lymphedema) amongst gynecologic cancer survivors. One of the earliest documented papers I ran accross was Leg Lymphedema from a Botched Abdominal Surgery – and this was published back in 1963 – Pat O’Connor

PMID: 19115691 [

Prospective study of physical activity and the risk of ovarian cancer. January 4, 2009

Posted by patoconnor in cancer, gynecological cancer, ovarian cancer, tubal cancer, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer.
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Prospective study of physical activity and the risk of ovarian cancer.

Dec 2008

Leitzmann MF, Koebnick C, Moore SC, Danforth KN, Brinton LA, Hollenbeck AR, Schatzkin A, Lacey JV.
Nutritional Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, 6120 Executive Blvd, Rockville, MD, 20892, USA, michael.leitzmann@klinik.uni-regensburg.de.

BACKGROUND:

Available studies on physical activity and ovarian cancer have produced inconsistent findings, with some previous studies reporting a positive association between vigorous physical activity and ovarian cancer risk.

METHODS:

We prospectively investigated the relations of self-reported moderate and vigorous physical activity to ovarian cancer in a cohort of 96,216 US women aged 51-72 years at baseline, followed from 1996-1997 to 31 December 2003.

RESULTS:

During seven years of follow-up, we documented 309 cases of epithelial ovarian carcinoma. In analyses adjusted for age, the relative risks (RRs) of ovarian cancer for individual and joint combinations of moderate and vigorous physical activity such as entirely inactive, neither moderate nor vigorous physical activity, moderate physical activity only, vigorous physical activity only, and both moderate and vigorous physical activity were 0.88, 1.0 (reference), 0.89, 1.05, and 1.08 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.81-1.43, respectively. After multivariate adjustment, the relation was essentially unchanged (RR comparing women with both moderate and vigorous physical activity to those with neither moderate nor vigorous physical activity = 1.10; 95% CI = 0.82-1.48). The null association between physical activity and ovarian cancer persisted in subgroups of women as defined by body mass index, parity, oral contraceptive use, menopausal hormone therapy, family history of ovarian cancer, and other variables (all p values for interaction >0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Neither moderate nor vigorous physical activity showed a statistically significant association with ovarian cancer in this large cohort of women..

PMID: 19116765 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]