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Whatever the reason, Shiffman, then 53, felt uneasy about her prognosis for endometrial cancer. So much so that she paid for a full-body scan out of her own pocket to see if the cancer had spread since her hysterectomy and radiation therapy. It came back clear for metastatic cancer. So she sent her scans and pathology slides to MD Anderson for answers. In contrast, Arthur Triche had confidence in his diagnosis of kidney cancer at age A decade earlier, he was successfully treated at MD Anderson for a rare urological cancer.

It was determined to be clear cell carcinoma — an aggressive form of cancer with a high rate of recurrence. The groundbreaking surgery and targeted radiation that followed at MD Anderson saved her life. And Triche learned he was a candidate for a surgery that removed only a part of his kidney — saving him from losing a vital organ.

More common are differences in the staging of a tumor, or classifications of biomarkers — molecules that subdivide tumors into groups that have different prognoses and can be used to guide the selection of the most effective therapy. We need a second opinion revolution! Patients can send their scans and test results directly to MD Anderson for a second opinion, or schedule an in-person consultation. If they decide to continue treatment at MD Anderson, they meet with a multidisciplinary team of cancer specialists to determine an individualized treatment plan.

German surgeon Martin Walz, M. The operation worked well for Shiffman because it allowed the surgeons to avoid cutting through scar tissue from her hysterectomy, and shifting her still-healing organs. Shiffman was the first MD Anderson patient to undergo the procedure, which became the standard surgical treatment for removing adrenal tumors after its debut. Six months after surgery, Shiffman had a cancer recurrence, but a type of targeted radiation called intensity-modulated radiation therapy IMRT was used to knock it out. More than a decade later, she is cancer free and appreciates her second chance at life, and the opportunity to see her six grandchildren grow up.

Just pure gratitude. Shiffman is officially retired, but stays busy advocating for patients newly diagnosed with cancer.


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She accompanies them to physician visits to take in important information, ask questions, request additional imaging and, when necessary, to encourage second opinions. Preserving kidney function was important, Pettway explains. As we age, medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes accelerate the loss of kidney function, and may ultimately lead to the need for dialysis or transplant.

Second opinions and second chances

Triche put the brakes on the surgery and traveled to Houston to meet with Surena Matin, M. Two weeks after surgery, Triche was ready to return to work and to his life in Atlanta. Middleton is hopeful that telemedicine may make it easier to get a second opinion. Support for the practice is growing nationwide. In May, the Texas Legislature passed a bill eliminating the need for an in-person consultation, easing restrictions on remote diagnosis and treatment.

In the meantime, Middleton encourages patients confronting cancer to seek out second opinions whenever possible. Most insurance companies reimburse the cost of a second-opinion consultation for cancer.

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And many insurers require a second opinion before covering some treatment costs. Patients can ask their treating physician to send their pathology slides or related materials directly to MD Anderson. Early ovarian cancer may not cause any symptoms.

Second opinions and second chances

When symptoms do appear, ovarian cancer is often advanced. Symptoms of ovarian cancer may include the following:. These symptoms may be caused by other conditions and not by ovarian cancer. If the symptoms get worse or do not go away on their own, a doctor should be consulted so that any problem can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.

When found in its early stages, ovarian epithelial cancer can often be cured. Patients may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial and can enter clinical trials before, during, or after starting their cancer treatment. Follow-up tests may be needed. Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing.

There are two types of radiation therapy. External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer. Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that are placed directly into or near the cancer. The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing.

When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body systemic chemotherapy.


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When chemotherapy is placed directly into the spinal column, an organ, or a body cavity such as the abdomen, the drugs mainly affect cancer cells in those areas regional chemotherapy. A type of regional chemotherapy used to treat ovarian cancer is intraperitoneal IP chemotherapy. In IP chemotherapy, the anticancer drugs are carried directly into the peritoneal cavity the space that contains the abdominal organs through a thin tube.

Vanessa Kennedy, M. Assistant Professor, Gynecologic Oncology. Gary Leiserowitz, M. Rachel Ruskin, M. Richard Valicenti, M. Danielle Baham, M. Kathleen Newman, R. Niri Carroll, M.

Nicole Mans, M. Daniela Martiniuc, M. Jeanna Welborn, M. Jenifer Cooreman, L. Toggle navigation. Treating the whole patient We provide a full range of supportive care services for patients including counseling, nutrition consulting, and one-on-one peer support, to name a few. Cancer Care at UC Davis. Learn about clinical trials We encourage you to have conversations with your doctor about all treatment options, including clinical trials.

Donate to Ovarian Cancer Research. Ovarian cancer. Meet Cindy Baumeister Ovarian cancer patient. Abdominal ultrasound: An ultrasound transducer connected to a computer is passed over the surface of the abdomen.

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The ultrasound transducer bounces sound waves off internal organs and tissues to make echoes that form a sonogram computer picture. Transvaginal ultrasound: An ultrasound probe connected to a computer is inserted into the vagina and is gently moved to show different organs. The probe bounces sound waves off internal organs and tissues to make echoes that form a sonogram computer picture.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer may include the following: Pain or swelling in the abdomen Pain in the pelvis Gastrointestinal problems, such as gas, bloating, or constipation These symptoms may be caused by other conditions and not by ovarian cancer. A woman with two or more relatives with ovarian cancer also has an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

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Having too much body fat, especially during the teenage years, is linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Three kinds of standard treatment are used. Biologic therapy Targeted therapy Patients may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial and can enter clinical trials before, during, or after starting their cancer treatment. There are different types of treatment for patients with ovarian epithelial cancer. These include the following: Surgery Most patients have surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible.

Different types of surgery may include: Total hysterectomy: A surgical procedure to remove the uterus, including the cervix. If the uterus and cervix are taken out through the vagina, the operation is called a vaginal hysterectomy. If the uterus and cervix are taken out through a large incision cut in the abdomen, the operation is called a total abdominal hysterectomy. If the uterus and cervix are taken out through a small incision cut in the abdomen using a laparoscope, the operation is called a total laparoscopic hysterectomy.