Ovarian Cancer Early Detection & the Effect on Mental Wellbeing

Ovarian Cancer Early Detection & the Effect on Mental Wellbeing

Today let’s look at an important topic that affects women across the globe! Wondering what we are talking about? Well, imagine a group of troublesome cells inside a woman’s ovaries causing chaos. You are right, that’s ovarian cancer! It occurs when abnormal cells multiply uncontrollably, forming a tumour in the ovaries. And because the ovaries are so important to women’s reproductive health, cancer can have adverse consequences.

The prevalence of ovarian cancer is widespread and not exclusive to any nation. Worldwide, it ranks as the eighth most common cancer among women. In India, approximately 23,000 women are diagnosed with this every year. Let’s look at some new development in the field and how it can impact mental well-being!

Let’s Look At New Research!

Epithelial ovarian cancer, accounting for 90% of all it’s cases, is one of the most lethal forms of cancer. Shockingly, only 30% of individuals diagnosed with this type of cancer survive over five years.

The low survival rate in epithelial ovarian cancer can be attributed to the absence of noticeable symptoms in its initial stages. As a result, people tend to delay seeking medical assistance until the disease has already advanced considerably. Although a blood test called CA125 is often used for diagnosing ovarian cancer, it is not entirely dependable. This means that the CA125 test may not always accurately detect the presence of the disease. 

However, there is good news! A new test has emerged, that outperforms the CA125 test in diagnosing ovarian cancer at an earlier stage. This new test has shown high accuracy in identifying most individuals with early-stage ovarian cancer, providing hope for improved detection and treatment outcomes. Let’s get down to the specifics of it! 

How Did They Find It?

So, researchers at Peking University in China, led by Pan Wang, developed a new test for early-stage ovarian cancer. They collected uterine fluid from 219 women with different types of cancer, including early-stage ovarian cancer. 

They used special machines called mass spectrometers to find seven specific substances in the fluid that was different in women with the disease. These substances, called metabolites, could be used to tell if someone has early-stage. These metabolites, including amino acids like tyrosine and phenylalanine, could be used as indicators for diagnosing the disease. 

The test accurately identified most cases of early-stage ovarian cancer, surpassing the reliability of the commonly used CA125 test. However, further validation in a larger group of people is needed. This breakthrough brings hope for a more effective non-surgical test for detecting ovarian cancer in its early stages, which has been a challenge for over five decades. Now, we know this is a promising finding, but more research is needed to be sure. Meanwhile, let’s look at the toll that ovarian cancer can take on women’s mental health.

State Of Mental Health Amidst the Ovarian Cancer Battle

Cancer already is a terrifying thing. It can have a significant impact on women’s mental health. It can be emotionally difficult to deal with a cancer diagnosis and the therapies that go along with it. The journey often involves undergoing surgeries, chemotherapy, and other medical procedures, which can lead to physical discomfort and side effects. Coping with these physical challenges, along with the emotional burden of living with cancer, can bring feelings of anxiety, depression, and overall distress.

According to a study that was published in 2021, women who have ovarian cancer are substantially more likely to experience mental health problems. Their chances of depression and anxiety disorders increased by 3 times and 3.5 times, respectively, in the first two years following their diagnosis.

Sometimes, cancer treatments can lead to “chemo brain”. It refers to cognitive changes that can occur as a result of cancer treatments. The memory, cognitive processes, and attention span of an individual may be impacted by these changes. It’s not uncommon to experience difficulties in remembering things or staying focused during or after cancer treatment.

A woman’s mental health may also be impacted by the long-term repercussions of ovarian cancer, including changes in body image, concerns about fertility, and the dread of recurrence. A solid support network for women with problem should consist of loved ones, medical experts, and support groups. Taking care of mental health is crucial during the this journey.

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