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1-min read

Vaginal Bacteria Linked to Ovarian Cancer; Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

The study follows the revelation that the community of bacteria and other microbes that reside inside the body, called microbiome, influence well-being and health.

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Updated:July 12, 2019, 6:34 PM IST
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Vaginal Bacteria Linked to Ovarian Cancer; Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
Representative image.

Turns out, having too little good vaginal bacteria may increase chances of ovarian cancer in women and swabs can be used to spot it, according to researchers. The new study, led by University College London, hope that the finding can be used to identify women at high risk of cancer, which has no screening test.

The study follows the revelation that the community of bacteria and other microbes that reside inside the body, called microbiome, influence well-being and health.

One of the beneficial bacteria in the vagina is called lactobacillus. Experts are of the opinion that it stops other unhelpful or bad microbes from taking up residence and causing harm. However, a decrease in lactobacillus increases chances of ovarian cancer.

Facts about ovarian cancer

Risk factors include family history, advanced age, reproductive history and obesity.

Treatment options include surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

There is a 94 per cent chance of surviving for at least 5 more years if diagnosed and treated early.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer usually starts in the epithelium of the ovary.

There are no symptoms in the early stages.

Symptoms when apparent include conditions like premenstrual syndrome or PMS, irritable bowel syndrome or IBS or a temporary bladder problem.

Early symptoms may also include

Pain in the pelvis or lower abdomen

Back pain

Indigestion as well as feeling full rapidly while eating

Urgent and frequent urination

Pain during sexual intercourse

Constipation

On the progression of the disease, one may also show symptoms like

Nausea

Weight loss

Breathlessness

Tiredness

Appetite loss

Diagnosis of ovarian cancer

Blood tests to check elevated levels of CA-125

Transvaginal ultrasound, MRI or CT scan.

A laparoscopy allows doctors to see the ovaries and take a tissue sample if necessary.

Colonoscopy if there is bleeding from the rectum

Abdominal fluid aspiration

Biopsy

Treatment for ovarian cancer

Surgery: Depending on the extent of cancer, it could be Salpingo-oophorectomy, Hysterectomy, Lymph node dissection, or Cytoreductive or debulking surgery.

Chemotherapy: Use of certain medications to destroy cancer cells.

Hormone Therapy to prevent estrogen from reaching cancer cells

Radiation therapy

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