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Ovarian Cancer in Pregnancy: Signs and Treatment

Ovarian cancer usually occurs in women who have reached menopause. Though the probabilities of this form of malignant neoplastic disease during pregnancy are extremely rare like it happens in 1 women out of 18,000, symptoms and signs are same to the ones absent in pregnancy. You can check your your pregnancy on credihealth pregnancy calculator, which estimate pregnancy due date. During an antepartum visit which is a pre-birth routine checkup, an ovarian mass is found. If it reverts to normal after ultrasounds, it is a cyst that occurs because of hormonal issues.

Common Symptoms -

The presence of germ cell ovarian tumors and gonadal stromal tumors are the common epithelial ovarian cancers. The removal of tumor is the suggested treatment if the tumor is found only in one ovary. The common symptoms include twisting of the ovary on its blood supply, which is known as torsion, leak, rupture, bleeding or infection. Fortunately, cancer during pregnancy is diagnosed in very early stages. In the early stages, you might not have any symptoms. But the most common symptoms include abdominal pain, pressure and bloating, frequent stomach upsets, heartburn tendencies, difficulty in eating, feeling bloated after eating a small quantity, urinating often with a sense of urgency, extreme fatigue, weakness to do regular work, back pain, constipation besides others. Persistence of such symptoms should be consulted with the doctor. If you are having morning sickness symptoms of the same you can check out on Relation of Pregnancy and Morning Sickness .

Evaluation, Testing and Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer–

A physical examination is performed at first but it cannot be felt in most cases. A blood test is also paramount in detecting the presence of CA-125 tumor markers. This marker is tied to this form of malignant neoplastic disease. However, the problem is the levels of this mark increases and reduces and cannot be relied upon. Imaging tests are also performed to help detect ovarian cancers. It can include a transvaginal ultrasound that checks for tumors and estimates their size. If the patient in question has crossed the first trimester of pregnancy, a pelvic MRI might be asked for, by the doctor. A diagnosis can only be confirmed and ascertained by a biopsy of the suspicious tissue.

Ways for treatment –

Proper treatment and diagnosis often help in eliminating cancerous cells. But each case is unique in its entirety and expert opinions should be taken for each individual case. You must have a medical team of a pediatrician, obstetrician and a specialist in cancer of the ovaries to take full care of you and your baby. Surgery can wait if there is no intense pain, rupture or hemorrhage. It is safe to begin chemotherapy while you are still pregnant. It is often not recommended in the first trimester as it might risk the chances of having birth defects. Radiation therapy is problematic, especially in the first trimester.


For staging surgery, the removal of the affected ovary along with biopsies of lymph nodes and peritoneum in body parts is required. If cancerous cells has spread beyond the ovary, cytoreduction or debunking becomes essential. In an early diagnosis, the surgery is often to remove the ovary and the pregnancy can be continued. But if 24 weeks have passed and it has spread beyond the ovary, it is best to remove the uterus or perform a Caesarean section.


Once the first trimester has been passed, the fetal organs have all completed development. They are only procuring growth after this stage. Chemotherapy retards the growth to an extent but doesn’t result in congenital malformation. The drugs used in isolation or combination are similar to other chemotherapy procedures for the treatment of malignant cells. If chemotherapy needs to be performed in the first trimester, it is suggested to terminate the pregnancy rather than endangering the life of the mother and baby. But the need for chemotherapy usually doesn’t occur.
With proper and prompt treatment and regular check-ups, ovarian cancer can be treated with ease. Radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgery are the usual treatment options. If the fetus has completed development, it is suggested to not terminate pregnancy.


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