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"When is it too late to stop ovarian cancer?"

ZocdocAnswersWhen is it too late to stop ovarian cancer?


I've been concerned for years now that my girlfriend has something wrong with her ovaries. If in fact she has had ovarian cancer (and she has been neglecting getting a doctor's appointment) for all this time ? is it possibly too late to even act now? When is it too late?


Ovarian cancer is a serious condition. I would recommend strongly having your girlfriend seeing her ob/gyn or primary care physician in the near future. Firstly, the symptoms of ovarian cancer are hard to describe. For that reason--people are often not diagnosed with ovarian cancer until it has progressed extensively. People describe abdominal pain, nausea, abdominal bloating and blood clots as symptoms. Unfortunately, there is no perfect test to screen for ovarian cancer which also makes diagnosis more difficult. The first step would be to see a doctor and see if she has ovarian cancer. This can be done initially by doing an ultrasound (sound wave test) which can bee done through the belly, or through the vagina (the later being more sensitive). This can give an idea if there is an ovarian mass. If there is a mass, one can get this biopsied to see what the mass is. In general there are more benign (or non cancerous) ovarian masses than ones that are cancerous. There are also blood tests that correlate with ovarian cancer that could be checked. If one has ovarian cancer--if it can be treated really depends on its stage. The stage depends on two major things (1) what type of cancer it is--which the biopsy can often tell and (2) where it has spread. If it is just in the ovary it can sometimes be treated by just removing the ovary. If it has spread throughout the body (lungs, bones, liver etc) then is is often incurable. It is impossible to tell if it is "too late" without getting the tests to see how far it has spread (for example by a PET/CT scan). I would recommend seeing your primary doctor or ob/gyn. He or she can help start the tests and answer further questions.

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