ASL Information on Ovarian Cancer

Finding and Surviving Ovarian Cancer

Realplayer is required to view these clips http://www.real.com .

Links to Transcripts and Video Clips:

Title Sequence

  1. Introduction
  2. Lets talk about Cancer
  3. What is Cancer
  4. Is there more than one type of tumor?
  5. Why is a malignant tumor so dangerous?
  6. So what is Ovarian Cancer?
  7. Can you please explain what the ovaries do?
  8. How do I know if I am at risk of Ovarian Cancer?
  9. Is there anything I can do to prevent Ovarian Cancer?
  10. Can Ovarian Cancer be inherited?
  11. What are the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer?
  12. How is Ovarian Cancer diagnosed?
  13. What happens if the doctor feels a growth on my ovary?
  14. What are the treatments for Ovarian Cancer?
  15. Are there side effects of chemotherapy?
  16. What about radiation?
  17. Are these side effects of radiation therapy?
  18. I have heard friends talk about clinical trials. What are they?
  19. What have we learned today?
  20. Resources and Acknowledgements

I.    Introduction

ASL Video and Voice Overlay

Transcript:

I heard you are a volunteer with the American Cancer Society.

Yes I am.

I work as a volunteer with the American Cancer Society because a friend of mine at work got ovarian cancer. I decided that I wanted to learn more about it. The American Cancer Society helps people all over the United States learn more about cancer. I contacted them letting them know that I wanted to work as a presenter for Deaf and Hard of Hearing women so that they would learn about cancer. I help my old friends and new friends as well.

I’d like to introduce my friend, Crystal. Crystal, would you share with us what you’ve learned about cancer? Sure, I’d be happy to.

Why not make yourselves comfortable, my discussion will take a few minutes.

II.    Cancer and Health

ASL Video and Voice Overlay

Transcript:

As Deaf women, we know it is especially hard for Deaf and Hard of Hearing women to get the health information they need. Today, we would like to present to you some important information about your health. We hope this information will be helpful for you. Specifically, we want to talk with you about cancer.

Cancer is a disease where abnormal cells start to grow rapidly and spread. If the cell’s growth is not controlled, death can result. For women, breast cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer. However, as more and more women have started smoking, more women are developing lung cancer. Because lung cancer is hard to treat, more women die from lung cancer than any other cancer. Because breast cancer and lung cancer are so common and so serious, women are more likely to hear about these two cancers. There are many other cancers that can affect women.

We are here to talk to you today about one very important cancer that occurs in women: ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer begins in the ovaries. The ovaries are two small organs located on each side of the uterus. The average age of women who get ovarian cancer is 60. It is important for women of all ages to learn about ovarian cancer.

Gathering information about potential benefits and risks of screening and treatment for ovarian cancer lets you make informed decisions about your health care.

III.    Overview

ASL Video and Voice Overlay

Transcript:

I know someone with cancer, could you start by explaining what cancer is?

Good question. Please keep asking them as we go along.

Let me explain what cancer is.

Cancer is a disease of cells in your body that become abnormal. Your body contains trillions of cells. Cells are like building blocks for your body. Cells with similar functions form groups within our bodies such as your heart, your brain, and your lungs. Healthy cells keep your body functioning smoothly.

Every day, old cells are dying, and new ones are replacing them. Your body makes new cells when one cell makes identical copies of itself. Sometimes a cell makes a mistake when it copies itself and produces a damaged cell. These damaged cells can divide very rapidly and create a group of damaged cells called a tumor.

Sometimes, damaged cells from a tumor will spread throughout the body. If that spread is not controlled, it can lead to death. This occurs because the tumor interferes with body functions.

IV.    Tumor Types

ASL Video and Voice Overlay

Transcript:

Is there more than one type of tumor?

Yes. There are two different types of tumors.

One is called a benign tumor. It is not cancer, nor is it dangerous, but most of the time this will need to be removed because it can interfere with your body's normal functioning.

The second type, the malignant tumor, is dangerous and can spread throughout the body and grow uncontrollably. If allowed to grow, it will cause death. This second type of growth is cancer.

V.    Malignant Tumors

ASL Video and Voice Overlay

Transcript:

Why is a malignant tumor so dangerous?

Cells from a malignant tumor can break away from the original tumor and move to other parts of the body. There they begin to grow into other tumors. The more tumors there are in the body, the harder it is for the body's normal cells to function.

Eventually there aren't enough normal cells to keep the body functioning properly. This process is called metastasis. There are two ways malignant tumors can spread. Cells can break away from the original tumor, or the tumor itself can grow larger.

When this process of tumor cells spreading has already occurred, it is called metastatic cancer. 

VI.    Description

ASL Video and Voice Overlay

Transcript:

So, what is ovarian cancer?

Here are the four topics that we will discuss about ovarian cancer:

  1. Description
  2. Risk
  3. Detection
  4. Treatments.

Number 1:

Description of ovarian cancer. The ovaries are two almond-shaped organs located on each side of the uterus.

VII.    Description: Ovaries

ASL Video and Voice Overlay

Transcript:

Can you please explain what the ovaries do?

The ovaries store tiny sacs called follicles. Every month, from puberty to menopause, one of these follicles releases an egg. That egg then travels through the fallopian tube and into the uterus.

Your ovaries also make many important hormones, including estrogen and progesterone. Ovarian cancer happens in the cells of the ovary. If ovarian cancer is not found and treated early, it can result in death.

VIII.    How do I know if I am at risk for ovarian cancer?

ASL Video and Voice Overlay

Transcript:

Number 2:

Risk of ovarian cancer.

In the United States, about 23,000 American women get ovarian cancer each year and about 14,000 women die of this cancer each year.

The average age of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer is 60. The risk of getting ovarian cancer increases as you age. The risk of getting ovarian cancer is thought to be related to the number of times a woman’s ovaries release an egg in her lifetime. This usually is related to the number of menstrual periods a woman has in her lifetime.

The risks for ovarian cancer are being a woman, being older, having your first menstrual period before the age of 12, reaching menopause after the age of 50, never having children, giving birth to your first child after the age of 30, a history of unexplained infertility, personal history of breast cancer, and a family history of ovarian, breast, uterine or colon cancer (especially in a close relative like your mother, sister, or daughter).

IX.    Prevention

ASL Video and Voice Overlay

Transcript:

Is there anything I can do to prevent ovarian cancer?

No lifestyle factors have been proven to prevent ovarian cancer. However, research has shown that women who use birth control pills, have one or more children, and breastfeed rather than bottle-feed their children have a lower risk of getting ovarian cancer.

X.    Inherited?

ASL Video and Voice Overlay

Transcript:

Can ovarian cancer be inherited?

You should talk to your doctor if you have a first-degree relative such as a mother, sister or daughter who has ovarian cancer or breast cancer.

If your doctor determines that your risk of developing ovarian cancer is very high and you no longer desire children, you may have the option of removing your ovaries to prevent ovarian cancer from occurring.

XI.    Symptoms

ASL Video and Voice Overlay

Transcript:

What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer?

Depending on the size and location of the tumor, the symptoms of ovarian cancer can vary. They can include pressure or a hard swelling in the lower abdomen, loss of appetite, weight gain, a desire to urinate more often and/or irregular menstrual periods.

Sometimes these symptoms resemble those caused by other medical problems, which can cause a delay in diagnosis. If you have a family history of ovarian cancer and experience any or all of these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor.

XII.    Diagnosis

ASL Video and Voice Overlay

Transcript:

How is ovarian cancer diagnosed?

Number 3:

Detection of ovarian cancer. If ovarian cancer is diagnosed early, before it has spread outside of the ovaries, the chance that it can be controlled is better. Unfortunately, only 25% of ovarian cancers are found early. This is because no good screening tests are available for ovarian cancer.

CA-125 is a test used to help follow the course of ovarian cancer after it is diagnosed. CA-125 is not used as a screening test for ovarian cancer.

A woman’s best option for early detection is a yearly pelvic exam by her healthcare provider. During this exam, the doctor can feel the ovaries for any hard, suspicious areas that might suggest the presence of ovarian cancer.

XIII.    Detection And Treatment

ASL Video and Voice Overlay

Transcript:

What happens if the doctor feels a growth on my ovary?

The doctor will order a vaginal ultrasound exam. In this exam, a long device called a vaginal ultrasound probe is coated with gel and inserted into your vagina. This is a completely painless procedure. Your doctor can look at the ultrasound image on a computer screen to see if there is a tumor-like growth in the ovaries. If there is a tumor-like growth in the ovary, the ultrasound test cannot tell whether the tumor is cancer. The only way to determine for sure if the tumor contains cancer is to remove some cells from the abnormal ovary.

This requires surgery with full anesthesia. Anesthesia is the medication given to you that causes you to sleep during surgery. During surgery, the tumor growth is removed from the ovary so the doctor can examine the tumor cells under the microscope.

If cancer is found, the doctor will need to remove all of the cancer from the ovary and from the abdomen if the cancer has spread beyond the ovary. If you are post-menopausal or do not desire more children, the doctor might recommend removing your affected ovary or both ovaries during this procedure, whether you are found to have cancer or not.

If you do have cancer, the doctor will do a blood test called CA-125 to help evaluate the course of ovarian cancer over time.

XIV.    Various Treatments

ASL Video and Voice Overlay

Transcript:

What are the treatments for ovarian cancer?

The various treatment options for Ovarian cancer are surgery, chemotherapy or a combination of the two. You and your doctor should discuss your age, your general health, whether you plan to have children and your feelings about the side effects of treatment before deciding on the best options for you.

The choice of treatments for ovarian cancer are surgery that removes the ovaries, uterus and the tubes that connect the ovaries to the uterus, surgery that removes all of the tumor and biopsies other areas to see if the tumor has spread, chemotherapy, radiation which is used if chemotherapy has failed, or a combination of these treatments. When cancer is found in one ovary, then usually both ovaries are removed along with the uterus and the fallopian tubes.

If the tumor has spread outside of the ovary, as much as possible of the tumor is also removed. Unlike many other cancers, ovarian cancer usually first spreads by some of the ovarian cancer cells breaking away and lodging on another organ surface within the peritoneal cavity. If not discovered early, there can be hundreds of tumors growing within the abdomen.

If the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, chemotherapy may also be necessary. Chemotherapy uses drugs in the form of pills or intravenous injections that kill any cells in your body that are dividing quickly.

A special way of delivering chemotherapy has been developed for ovarian cancer. This special way of delivering chemotherapy involves directly injecting the drugs into the abdominal cavity.

XV.    Side Effects of Chemotherapy

ASL Video and Voice Overlay

Transcript:

What are the side-effects of chemotherapy?

Cancer cells divide rapidly. However, so do some other healthy cells, like those in your mouth, your stomach, your intestines, your bones, and your hair.

Therefore, the drugs can also kill healthy cells in these places. When chemotherapy kills these healthy cells, the result can be mouth sores, tiredness, weakness, hair loss, diarrhea, and an upset stomach.

However, almost all of these treatments make it impossible for the woman to have children in the future. Talk to your doctor before your surgery if you want to have children. Be sure your doctor is a surgeon who specializes in cancer of the female organs.

XVI.    Radiation Therapy

ASL Video and Voice Overlay

Transcript:

What about radiation?

How does that work?

Radiation therapy uses very strong X-rays to kill the cancer cells. However, most cases of ovarian cancer do not get radiation therapy, because these tumors are quite sensitive to drug therapy. Therefore, at this time, radiation is used in ovarian cancer if chemotherapy has failed. .

It can be used as a treatment alone or in combination with other treatments. There are two ways to deliver radiation treatment.

First, X-ray beams can be aimed directly at the ovarian cancer cells from an external machine.

Second, you can have special radioactive chemicals placed directly into your abdomen. This releases constant amounts of radiation to kill the cancer cells over a specific period of time. This period of time could be from minutes, to hours, to days.

XVII.    Side Effects

ASL Video and Voice Overlay

Transcript:

Are there side effects from the radiation?

The radiation will still kill some healthy cells in that area of the body. Radiation causes some various things to happen. It may cause skin changes such as redness or peeling, vaginal or rectal pain, vaginal narrowing, nausea, loss of appetite, tiredness, feeling the need to urinate more often, diarrhea, and/or softening of your bones.

Most of these side effects last only about two weeks after you stop radiation.

However, there are long-term side effects. Some women report sexual difficulties and early menopause. You should talk with your doctor if these side effects occur or if the short term side effects last longer than they should.

XVIII.    Clinical Trials

ASL Video and Voice Overlay

Transcript:

I have heard friends talk about clinical trials.

What are they?

Clinical trials are studies done to find new ways to diagnose and treat cancer and many other diseases.

Clinical trials also search for ways to prevent cancer and reduce symptoms. You should keep an open mind about clinical trials. Ask your doctor about any clinical trials that could benefit you.

The National Cancer Institute has lots of information about clinical trials. They will help you make an informed treatment decision. The best idea is to stay open to the possibility of clinical trials because they can offer new solutions for you and for other people with similar problems.

XIX.    Summary

ASL Video and Voice Overlay

Transcript:

Well, we hope that this video has answered some of your questions and concerns about ovarian cancer.

Let us summarize a few important things for you.

The average age of women who get ovarian cancer is 60. If you have a personal history of breast cancer or a family history of ovarian, breast, uterine or colon cancer, you are at higher risk of getting ovarian cancer.

Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about your risk of getting ovarian cancer. The risks for Ovarian Cancer are being a woman, age greater than 60, first menstrual period before the age of 12, reaching menopause after the age of 50, never having children, giving birth to your first child after the age of 30, a history of unexplained infertility, a personal history of breast cancer, a family history of ovarian, breast, uterine or colon cancer, especially in your mother, sister or daughter.

XX.    Resources

ASL Video and Voice Overlay

Transcript:

The more you understand ovarian cancer, the more power you have to make the right choices for your own body and health.

You can call the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute for more information or visit their web sites. With what you have learned today, you can make a difference for yourself and your community by being informed and by making responsible decisions about cancer screening.

We enjoyed sharing this information with you and hope you will share it with many others. Together, we can improve the health of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community by making sure its members have the most accurate and current information available. Remember, this video was prepared in 2003. New information about ovarian cancer is always developing.

Check the following sources for the latest information.

The following resources provide more information on uterine, cervical and ovarian cancers:

National Cancer Institute www.cancer.gov
VOICE 1-800-4-CANCER
TTY 1-800-332-8615

American Cancer Society
VOICE 1-800-ACS-2345

National Institutes of Health
TTY 1-800-332-8615

www.oncolink.org

www.cancercare.org

Acknowledgments:

  • Dr. Georgia Sadler
  • Dr. Cheryl Saenz, Gynecological Oncologist
  • Dr. Jamie Resnik, Obstetrician-Gynecologist
  • Dr. Francisco Pardo, Radiation-Oncologist
  • Dr. Christine Miller, Obstetrician-Gynecologist
  • Dr. David Schrimmer, Obstetrician-Gynecologist/Perinatologist
  • Dr. Jim Rice, Obstetrician-Gynecologist
  • Thom Duva, Deaf Community Services Member
  • Patricia Branz, Deaf Community Services Member
  • Paola Aghajanian, UCSD Medical Student