The on­set of ovar­ian can­cer can be dis­guised as mi­nor stom­ach dis­com­fort.

The Peak (Singapore) - - Watches Perspective -

The fth most com­mon can­cer in Sin­ga­porean women rarely has early signs and the symp­toms – such as bloat­ing, pelvic pain and dis­com­fort, ab­dom­i­nal dis­ten­sion, loss of ap­petite and change in bowel habits – can be vague. Thus, only about 20 per cent of ovar­ian can­cers are found at an early stage. To re­duce the risk, it’s im­por­tant to note one’s fam­ily med­i­cal his­tory and other risk fac­tors. Dr Lim Hwee Yong, se­nior con­sul­tant on­col­o­gist at Novena Can­cer Cen­tre, shares more. When ovar­ian can­cer is found early at a lo­calised area, the cure rate with treat­ment be­comes very much higher and may ap­proach more than 85 per cent long-term sur­vival.

Surgery re­mains an im­por­tant treat­ment for early- stage ovar­ian can­cer. In more ad­vanced stages, can­cer de­bulk­ing surgery may also be per­formed. Chemo­ther­apy is an­other ef­fec­tive treat­ment. Ep­ithe­lial ovar­ian can­cer of­ten shrinks in re­sponse to chemo­ther­apy and may even seem to dis­ap­pear with treat­ment. In re­cent years, there has been signi cant progress in molec­u­lar tar­geted chemother­a­peu­tic treat­ments, with height­ened re­sponse to treat­ment. Good con­trol of the side ef­fects of chemo­ther­apy nowa­days can also be read­ily achieved, with the ad­vent of new sup­port­ive med­i­ca­tions.

To give an ex­am­ple, one of our late- stage pa­tients went through chemother­a­peu­tic treat­ment and a com­bi­na­tion of cy­to­toxic and molec­u­lar tar­geted ther­apy. After three cy­cles of chemother­a­peu­tic treat­ment, the can­cer showed ev­i­dence of al­most com­plete re­mis­sion. To­day, a year later, the pa­tient main­tains an ac­tive life­style. With ef­fec­tive treat­ment op­tions, late- stage pa­tients have a bet­ter chance for high- qual­ity, ac­tive and mean­ing­ful lives.

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