Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A New Ovarian Cancer Treatment

To date, most chemotherapy for ovarian cancer, has been done intravenously. The medications have to travel throughout the blood stream before they would even reach the cancer cells. This "new" treatment is intraperitoneal. A port is put into the abdomen and the chemotherapy drugs are put directly into the abdomen and literally "sloshed" around using saline solution so that the organs and abdominal cavity are literally washed in the medication. It is said that this treatment will add an additional 16 months to the woman's life. I hope this is true.

My mom was diagnosed in 1999 with stage C-3 ovarian cancer (one step from inoperable). And though she had chemotherapy it was prior to the use of this treatment. She went through traditional chemo, surgeries and finally radiation treatments that literally ruined her abdominal organs. She lost her battle a little over four years later (July 21, 2003). Eight months after her death, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with primary peritoneal cancer. This is a type of cancer that is often misdiagnosed as ovarian as it mimics ovarian, but it is treated in the same way. What made matters so difficult for us and the whole situation harder to deal with, is that there is/was no cancer in either family.

My mother-in-law, however, has been treated in this new way. It was not an easy treatment. She had to wear roomy clothing because it would expand her abdomen for hours afterwards until the saline and medications could be absorbed by her body. After the medications were in and the while the saline was going in, she had to lay with her head lower than her feet. She then had to turn from one side to the other every 20 minutes in order for the medication and saline to bathe her entire abdomen. It is because of the way this treatment is done, that so many women have not been able to withstand it. But, if it adds months to a woman's life, it has to be worth it because the mortality rate for ovarian cancer is so high.

On average, 22,000 women are diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer and of those, 16,000 will die within 3 to 5 years. Most of the time ovarian cancer is not diagnosed until it is in an advanced stage because there are no definitive warning signs and there is no early detection test. So, for me, any increase in life span is wonderful because not only does it affect my mother-in-law, but it could very well affect my daughters as well as myself.

Early detection would be the best deterrent against ovarian cancer mortality, but there is no test at this time. Through donations and corporate funding there is research being done. A charity that works locally here in Ohio is OROC. (OutRun Ovarian Cancer) There are also several national charities including, The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition.

Some information from Reuters.

1 comment:

Fatima said...

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