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Test for Uterine/Ovarian Cancers?? Test for Uterine/Ovarian Cancers??

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Unread 05-15-2001, 06:39 PM
Test for Uterine/Ovarian Cancers??

Unlike pap smears that can test only for cervical cancer, is anyone aware of any real test for uterine or ovarian cancer? After recently undergoing a TAH/BSO for uterine cancer, I have come across nothing that shows any tests our doctors can give us. It seems to me that ovarian cancer is pretty symptonless in its early stages. Uterine cancer is a little more indicative--spotting or irregular bleeding. I was wondering if there is anything we can do (as a part of this great web site) to find out more. We have gained so much knowledge through our individual experiences that it seems as a whole we could maybe do more.
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Unread 05-15-2001, 07:36 PM
Test for Uterine/Ovarian Cancers??

Hi Lori,

I know that there are markers in the blood which when elevated can be a determining factor as to whether ovarian cancer may exist, but you are right about there being few symtoms.

The only reason I knew I had anything wrong was due to the tumor being large enough that it was pressing on my bowel causing severe pain and diarrhea. If that wasn't happening I probably wouldn't have known it was even there.

So between an ultrasound, CT scan and the blood testing, I was told they were quite sure they were dealing with cancer even before the surgery.

I hope you are doing well since your surgery.
Hope this little bit of info is helpful to you!
Take care,
Unread 05-15-2001, 09:01 PM
Test for Uterine/Ovarian Cancers??

Hi Lori,

As Maria mentioned there is a blood test (CA125) that can pick up on some types of ovarian cancer. It measures a particular protein that elevates when some cancers are present. The problem with this test is that it is really meant to be more of a tracking type test and not a diagnostic test. The same protein the elevates with some ovarian cancers can also elevate due to other conditions such as endometriosis. At the same time, not all ovarian cancers elevate this protein, both of which account for quite a few of the false positives and negatives with this test.

More Dr's are using vaginal or trans-vaginal ultrasound to assist in the screening process for ovarian, in addition to regular pelvic exams.

The symptoms for this type of cancer are so vague and are commonly missed as being something else. The most common symptoms are irregular periods, irregular bowel movements, painful intercourse and/or bleeding with intercourse, abdominal pain and/or bloating and weight gain/loss.

You know even after going thru all of this, I still don't know the symptoms for uterine very clearly. I guess I have some reseach to do.

These are indeed types of cancer that need to have awareness raised on them. I think if more people understood the symptoms and questioned them, there would be far less advanced stage cancers found.

One thing I wanted to mention is that soon there will be posted on the top of this forum some helpful links to different sites dealing with cancer in education, information and helping deal with problems that may pop up during various treatments. This is a start to tracking down some useful information.

Thank you for bringing this up, I do hope we'll be able to share our experiences with less and less woman in the future as far as cancer is concerned.

{{hugs}} to you.

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Unread 05-16-2001, 05:15 AM
Test for Uterine/Ovarian Cancers??

Vicki, you never cease to amaze me with your info!
I really wish that there was a simpler way for us ladies to find our problems before they are so carried away that it takes major surgery to get better!!
Unread 05-16-2001, 05:09 PM
Test for Uterine/Ovarian Cancers??

I second everything Vicki says --

I just wanted to say that if you have any of these symptoms and they linger, do not hesitate to ask your MD for a CA-125 test, examination, and/or ultrasound -- the reason I say that is because I was misdiagnosed twice before I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. My periods were out of whack (heavy one month, light the next) , I was gaining weight (especially in my abdomen) and I was having terrible hot flashes. I went to my (former) internist and told him this and his reply was "I have no idea what's wrong with you" (gee thanks). The symptoms continued and I went to another (former) internist -- she said that I needed to go on a diet, that I was going through early menopause, and to quit worrying so much about my symptoms. By the way, neither of these doctors did a blood test or even examined me. Finally, when my belly was distended and I was having stomach pains, I went to a third internist who examined me and then ordered an ultrasound. The ultrasound revealed advanced ovarian cancer and then the saga began of chemo, the hysterectomy, etc. I am now completely cancer free, (thank the Lord) but I am horrified to think what would have happened if I had listened to the first two doctors.

To make a long story short, if you have any of these symptoms that Vicki mentioned, even if they seem vague, DO NOT HESITATE to insist on getting tested with a CA-125, ultrasound and/or examined, and if this means going to another doctor, then do so. It could make the difference....



Unread 05-17-2001, 08:28 AM
Test for Uterine/Ovarian Cancers??

Cyndy, I am not having any further symptons--uterine cancer was enough! My ovaries are gone to prevent ovarian cancer. But your story is exactly what I'm talking about! How can there be routine tests for cervical, breast, prostate and colon cancers and not for something as life devastating as ovarian cancers! It seems to me that we should be able to find out why and what if anything we can do to push for something like that? I know it's a far cry, but look how terrible your path was. Please take care of yourself.
Unread 05-17-2001, 01:02 PM
ovarian cancer

Hi, Lori!

I recently had a hyst. due to ovarian cancer, in the form of a cyst. I, too, had the distended abdomen, along with fever and sometimes chills. I went to 3 different Dr.s: my (former) ob-gyn, an internist, and finally, a gastrointerologist, who found it by ordering a CT scan. If he had sent me on my way, as the others did, I might still have it! Another clue is leg pain. I had some pressure, not really pain, but didn't mention it, because I thought it was unrelated! My sympthons would come and go, and inbetween my abdomen was sore from the distention!

I agree that there certainly needs to be a test for ovarian, but outside of scans and ultrasounds, I don't know of any. I guess that these tests are expensive, so are not commonly used. Too bad.

I wish you the best. I'm about half way through chemo, and while I don't like doing it, I'm thankful for it!

Take care!
Unread 05-17-2001, 09:39 PM
Ovarian Cancer

I had surgery last summer for complex atypical endometrial hyperplasia. The reason was because it was "atypical" which means it was a precancerous condition. I started with heavy periods which lasted more than a week, then my Primary Care Physician put me on Provera and suggested a Gyn visit. As I didn't have a current gyn (the primary care doc did my Paps, etc.), he gave me some names. Also, I asked a few friends for the names of their doctors. I first saw a female gyn who examined me, sent me for ultrasound (both abdominal and transvaginal), and performed a D&C and Hysteroscopy under general anesthesia in the hospital as an out-patient. She told me I needed a hysterectomy, that I had a precancerous condition. She did not tell me that my UTERUS WAS THE SIZE OF A 10-WEEK PREGNANCY! I found that out later when I asked for a copy of my D&C Report (finally received from the first hospital AFTER my hysterectomy by another doctor at a different hospital). I feel that she should have told me. I went to a second doctor for another opinion because I felt that the surgery warranted another opinion--they say too many hysterectomies are done in the US and I wanted to be sure I needed it. The second doctor was great. He answered all my questions and then, after surgery, he gave me the bad news--I had Stage Ib uterine cancer and Stage Ic ovarian cancer. Well, he send me to a gyn oncologist who had the pathology slides reviewed (2nd opinion at his facility) and they felt it was not ovarian cancer. The slides were then sent to Stanford which gave diagnosis of "Mucinous Mullerian Tumor of Low Malignant Potential." The uterine cancer was considered "cured" because it was only 1mm into the uterine wall and the uterus was removed. I fortunately did not need chemo after the second and third opinions on the slides--but this was told to me AFTER I was explained the types of chemo they were going to do (Taxol and Carboplatin) every 3 weeks and the side effects related to these drugs. Instead of the chemo, I was told to see my gyn every 3 months for a pelvic exam for the first 2 years, with a Pap every 6 months and then exam and Pap every 6 months for the next 10 years thereafter. It could be considered a nuisance to see your gyn every 3 months--BUT A LOT BETTER THAN CHEMO so I can live with it. What a trade-off, huh? I just had another 3-month exam last week and so far so good. I thank God that he protected me from that horrible disease. I asked the doctor, "Is this the reward I get for going for exams every year?" He said, "It could have been worse if you didn't go for your annual exams." Information regarding ovarian cancer can be found at "www.ovarian.org." There are also other informational sites on the internet. I met a few ladies who had ovarian cancer treatment and still correspond with them. I also have information one lady provided to me. If you would like a copy, send me your e-mail address and I can e-mail it to you.
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