Ovarian cancer starts in the ovaries, the small almond shaped glands positioned on either side of the uterus. In addition to producing eggs, the ovaries produce the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. Cancer forms in the ovary when abnormal cells reproduce in an uncontrolled way and replace healthy cells, forming a tumor. Ovarian cancer is difficult to diagnose as there are few symptoms when it is in the earliest stages. The Beverly Hills Cancer Center uses a comprehensive multi disciplinary approach in ovarian cancer treatment. Los Angeles has no equal in providing compassionate concierge services to local and international patients.
Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
One of the characteristics of ovarian cancer is that it presents few symptoms in the early stages. Symptoms are usually noticed when the cancer has migrated to other parts of the body. Symptoms generally associated with ovarian cancer are:
- Bloating or swelling in the abdomen
- Loss of appetite or feeling full quickly
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Vaginal bleeding after menopause
- Menstrual changes
- Frequent urination or urgently needing to urinate
- Pain during sex
- Back pain
These are also symptoms of non cancerous diseases and most women with any of these symptoms will not have ovarian cancer. Benign tumors in the ovaries can cause some of these symptoms and once detected, can be surgically removed.
Women who frequently experience persistent symptoms that differ from what is considered normal for them should arrange to see a gynecologist. If a positive diagnosis is made for ovarian cancer, the specialized team at the Beverly Hills Cancer Center is always ready with the most cutting edge ovarian cancer treatment plan Los Angeles has to offer.
Determining the Best Ovarian Cancer Treatment
The treatment team analyses several factors when determining the best course of treatment for each person. Each patient will have a combination of factors which react to treatment in a unique way. Treatment is planned based upon:
- The type of ovarian cancer
- The stage of the cancer
- The grade of the cells
- General health of the patient
Types of Ovarian Cancer
There are 3 types of ovarian cancer; epithelial, germ cell and borderline ovarian tumors. All ovarian cancer will have surgery as a component part of treatment but not all will need further drug or hormone therapy.
Epithelial cancer – This is cancer beginning in the cells that are on the surface layer of the ovary. About 90% of ovarian tumors are epithelial in nature.
Germ cell – This is a rare form of ovarian cancer comprising only 1 to 2% of all ovarian cancers. Tumors begin in the egg making cells of the ovary. There are also benign forms of germ cell tumors.
Borderline ovarian tumors –These are tumors of low malignant potential as they do not grow into the stroma or supportive tissue of the ovary. About 10% of epithelial ovarian tumors are borderline tumors.
Cancer is staged, or analyzed, for the purpose of determining how large the tumor is and whether it has spread. Our specialists then collaborate with the patient’s gynecologist and other care providers in order to provide world class ovarian cancer treatment at our Los Angeles Center.
Ovarian cancer is staged using a numbering system; 1 being the earliest stage and 4 the most advanced.
Stage 1 - the cancer is contained in the ovaries. It may be inside one or both ovaries.
Stage 2 - the cancer is outside the ovary and contained within the pelvis. It may be inside the fallopian tubes or the uterus or may be in other tissues such as the bladder or rectum.
Stage 3 - The cancer is outside the pelvis and into the abdominal cavity. It is also considered sage 3 if it is in the lymph nodes in the abdomen or groin.
Stage 4 - The cancer has spread to organs such as the liver or lungs. If the cancer cells are only on the surface of the liver, it is considered stage 3.
It may not be possible to stage cancer before surgery is done. During surgery the abdomen will be examined to determine if there are any malignant cells present and tissues will be taken so that it can be determined if the cancer has spread.
Grading Cancer Cells
After cells have been examined under a microscope, the cancer cells can be graded according to how similar to ovarian tissue cells they are. Grade 1 cells are most like ovarian tissue cells and are therefore less likely to spread. Grade 3 cells are very irregular and are more likely to metastasize. Grade 2 is a mid point. Knowing the grade of the cells helps to determine the course of treatment that will best serve the patient. For example, in low grade stage 1 patients with grade 1 cells, chemotherapy may not be needed.
General Health of the Patient
Studies have shown that age is not a valid gauge to determine treatment methods. Older women can tolerate ovarian cancer treatment well. Our team uses an integrated team of health care professionals who provide for all of the needs of the patient.
An important factor in determining treatment is whether the patient is planning to have children. Ovary sparing protocols can be considered when forming the treatment plan.
Ovarian Cancer Treatment Los Angeles
The team at Beverly Hills Cancer Center strives to deliver the most current ovarian cancer treatment Los Angeles has available. Treatment is provided in a peaceful and soothing environment staffed with compassionate knowledgeable staff who are focused on treating cancer.
Once the cancer has been meticulously diagnosed, the treatment plan is finalized. Treatment consists of a combination of:
- Hormone Therapy
- Radiation Therapy
- Targeted Drug Therapy
Surgery – The goal of surgery is to remove as much of the tumor as possible and also as a means of staging the cancer. Ovarian cancer treatment is different for each stage and for each type of cancer making staging an important part of forming a successful treatment plan.
Chemotherapy – Used to systemically to treat cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Chemotherapy drugs are given by mouth or intravenously. They may also be injected via catheter directly into the abdominal cavity.
Hormone Therapy – Hormones can be used to block the production of estrogen or other female hormones which stimulate the growth of cancer cells.
Targeted Drug Therapy – This is a newer type of treatment using drugs to attack only the cancer cells, leaving normal cells alone. These drugs attack the programming that makes these cells abnormal interrupting the way they divide and grow. There are far fewer side effects with this therapy.
External Beam Radiation Therapy – Radiation is precisely targeted to the cancer. This therapy is done 5 days per week for several weeks. The time of exposure is extremely short targeting an exactly defined area and sparing adjacent tissue.
Concierge Focused Cancer Treatment Facility
At Beverly Hills Cancer Center, our multidisciplinary team is dedicated to one goal – getting the patient well. Patients are often seen by multiple specialists at the same time to coordinate and implement complex treatments and make important health care decisions. Ovarian cancer treatment in Los Angeles at the BHCC provides all patients with world class concierge health care service.
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To schedule an appointment, please call Beverly Hills Cancer Center in Beverly Hills, California at (877) 320-5131 or use our interactive Online Appointment Request Form.