Ovarian small cell carcinoma

Overview

Type of disease: Rare conditions

Ovarian small cell carcinoma is a rare type of cancer of the ovaries that primarily affects young women. Carcinoma is a cancer that affects the cells that line organs in the body; these cells are called epithelial cells. People with ovarian small cell carcinoma often have high calcium levels in their blood (hypercalcemia). This situation can be dangerous because the calcium levels will be low in the bones and can affect the heart and brain. Cancer can be very dangerous, and early diagnosis is very important.

The symptoms include stomach bloating, abdominal pain, difficulty eating, feeling full quickly, frequent urination, or sudden, urgent need for urination. Additionally, affected individuals may experience fatigue, indigestion, back pain, constipation, or menstruation irregularities. A history of cancer in your family may increase your risk of developing ovarian small cell carcinoma. The presence of a change (mutation) in the BRCA genes may also increase your risk of ovarian or breast cancer.

In order to diagnose ovarian small cell carcinoma, a doctor may begin by performing a physical pelvic or rectal exam. They may also use blood tests and a vaginal ultrasound to help in diagnosis. The first step for treatment may be surgery to remove as much of the mass as possible. Treatment options may vary between individuals so it is important to talk to your doctor about which treatments are right for you. Support groups are also a good source of information and support for people or families with ovarian small cell carcinoma.

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