I agree on the best possible hospital. Find out things like their chemo facilities. How often you see the doctor. My first hospital was a University hospital. Instead of being in the new cancer hospital I was given chemo in a hallway. After surgery I never saw my doctor again. I only saw a nurse even for the chemo meeting. I got sicker and sicker until I was dying. My doctor was in a rock band and on tour.I was there three months.I switched to Duke. They saved my life and I treated at a nice cancer hospital. I wish I had gone to Duke for a second opinion. I also have more options at Duke for treatment which has kept me alive longer.
A CT-scan is the first thing they usually do if suspect strongly ovarian cancer I think. It shows well the presence of ascites and also the presence of any tumors. I did not understand if they did it on your mom. They also do CA125 marker test. You are right, for a 60+years woman, ascites is an indication for an ovarian cancer being a cause. But ascites alone it is not definitive. Even elevated CA125 and something in CT scan is not a proof but indication. They will need hard results - malignant cells in a biopsy - to proceed with surgery etc. A year ago, I was in the same situation as your mom - in ER because of bloating. They did CT scan right away and wrote an OVCA as a possibility. They transferred me to their hospital and did CA125. They also were fussing about some cyst they found and moved slowly. Meantime, my ascites started growing like crazy, and I got thinking in no small part because they put me in wrong type of IV fluid. So they had to drain ascites by paracenthese (sp?), there was 11 liters. Then they did biopsy of the fluid. I learned later that draining is not considered a good thing as it may leave "seeds" everywhere in the abdominal cavity. But at that time, I did not have a choice. If it comes to surgery, the quality of the hospital and the surgeon is most important. The hospital she ended up from ER may not be of her choice, you should research the best available options for her. I wish best of luck to you and your mom. Regards, Alla
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I am sorry to hear about your experience. I will keep you posted on what happens. She has an appointment with her gyno on the 30th and I guess we will see what happens from there. Thank you for all the information. I don't think most people know what you have said here...there is just that assumption that all those 'parts' are unnecessary if you are not having children. This will be something that we will be sure to discuss with her doctor.
Ovarian cysts are common and most are benign, even complex ones. Ascites do not necessarily mean cancer. Since the ovaries produce hormones up to at least age 80 and are essential for many aspects of health, it is best to keep both ovaries if there is no cancer and the patient is not high risk for ovarian cancer (e.g., BRCA1 or 2+). Cysts can be removed without removing the ovary (cystectomy) if one has a surgeon with these skills. A frozen section can be done while the patient is in the operating room. That should dictate if any organs need to be removed. Unfortunately, women's organs are removed FAR more frequently than is necessary. Only about 2% of hysterectomies and ovary removals are done for a cancer diagnosis.
I was over-treated for a benign complex ovarian cyst. My surgeon removed both ovaries and my uterus. I wish I had protected myself via the surgical consent form by revising it to specify what could and could not be removed under what conditions and had my surgeon sign off. I am now suffering the many medically documented adverse effects of female organ removal.
I hope your mom's cyst is benign and she gets treatment that restores her health versus impairs it. Keep us posted.
Usually for Ovarian cancer you are referred to a GYN/oncologist. In fact that is who I would see. The ascites does need to be explored. I am no doctor and can't guess what your mom has. Most ovarian cysts are benign.