Ovarian cancer is very difficult to diagnose, and many women feel mild symptoms or no symptoms at all in the early stages of the disease. A whole team of doctors can help with diagnosing and treating ovarian cancer, including the family doctor, gynecologist, and oncologist. Some women have that luck to feel the symptoms early and to treat this disease with a high rate of success, but some women aren’t so lucky. They start to feel the symptoms in the later stages of ovarian cancer, and, sometimes, this disease can be discovered in the last, "terminal" stage, when there is no more possible treatment that will repair the damage.
Different treatment is handled by different type of specialists such as:
Medical oncologist: A medical oncologist is the person who is the in charge of the case. Treatments such as chemotherapy and other therapies like hormone therapy will be undertaken by him. He is the person who will coordinate with other specialists in dealing with the case.
Radiation oncologist: A radiation oncologist is the person who specializes in radiation therapy.
Surgical oncologist: These specialists diagnose cancer with a technique known as biopsy and treat the cancer by removing the tissue that has become cancerous.
Every person in the world should visit their doctors for regular examinations to keep in good shape. The women should also visit their gynecologist once or twice a year, or more often if that is necessary. The gynecologist plays a great role in the whole procedure of curing ovarian cancer. They do an ultrasound and CT scans to see if there are any visible changes in the whole pelvic cavity, including the womb and ovaries. The diagnosing of this disease can be very tricky, because sometimes even the best gynecologist can confuse the tumors with cysts. If there is any suspicion that ovarian cancer is present, the patient should do a blood test called CA 125, which detects the protein that comes from the core of the ovaries. The women with ovarian cancer have this protein at very high levels.
The gynecological oncologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating all types of cancer on fertility organs. If you and your gynecologist suspect that there is a possibility for ovarian cancer, you should visit a gynecological oncologist immediately. They will do a few examinations, including biopsy of the critical tissues, so that they can determine if there are tumors in the ovaries. If there is ovarian cancer, they should also determine the stage so that they can start proper treatment. The treatment can start with chemotherapy or with a surgery called a hysterectomy depending on the stage. The oncologist will determine the dose of the drugs for chemotherapy and will follow the whole process. Sometimes, the patient has to take two to three cycles of chemotherapy before going to surgery so that the spreading of the tumors will stop.
The hysterectomy is a procedure when the “sick” ovary is removed from the body. There are two possible cases: removing one of the ovaries or removing both of them. Sometimes, it is also necessary to remove the womb, the cervix, and even the appendix, and parts of the organs near the ovaries. The surgeons should remove as many tumors and nodules as possible, so they can be sure that the patient will be cured.
After the surgery, the patient needs to rest for a few weeks and then come back for a new dose of chemotherapy (if that is needed). The whole recovery procedure should be followed by the gynecological oncologist and the gynecologist. In cases when the whole uterus is removed, the patient may need a psychologist or psychiatrist to help them deal with the disease mentally, especially if the woman had never had children before. Emotional support from friends and family is also important, and friends and family can help a lot, even though they are not doctors or specialists. Recovering from ovarian cancer can be a very long and hard process for the woman and her family. They all play a big role in the whole procedure of recovery after the medical treatment is done.
A good specialist is hard to find and few points can go a long way in finding a good specialist, such as:
- Experience: He should possess a lot of experience in treating that specific type of cancer. His medical history in carrying out cancer treatment can help you get your answer. Dealing with cancer patients should be his/her daily routine. Once the medical oncologist confirms a cancerous tumor on the ovary and there is a good chance for the cancer to become malignant affecting abdominal organs and pelvis, it becomes important for the specialist to find the location of the tumor and remove it as soon as possible without making the surgery risky. A skilled professional with a sense of judgment carries a lot of experience.
- Good training: A specialist should possess good training apart from a long experience in his field. Look for the framed degrees he possesses and the journals that must have been published by him in past years. It will give you a brief idea about his work and area of expertise.
- Certified by Board: Board-certified doctors are trained well in their area of expertise and they undergo a screening test in order to get certified by the board. Half of the job is done as one hears that the doctor is board-certified in surgery or oncology. However, certification is not the criteria for being a good cancer specialist, since some of the cancer treatments do not require any certification by the board.
- Approachable: This is the most important quality to look for in a specialist. He/she should be open to the questions you have. Also, his availability for the patient in times of need makes him fall under the "good specialist" category.
Mostly a cancer specialist is recommended by a primary doctor, but many rely on friends and relatives for recommendations. Other than that, one can go to the nearest hospital to find out the names of the specialists that deal with cancer. Many health organizations also work for the welfare of the people who have no idea as to where to go and whom to approach.
There are various physicians that can help treat ovarian cancer, and it is important to find physicians that are interested in helping you through this in anyway possible.
- Family doctor