A week ago my aunt went to the hospital due to severe pain in the ovary...she was throwing up and and everything. It went away in the hospital on it's own. They said they found 2 cysts on her ovaries, but never said if it was cancerous. They made it seem severe and that is what is freaking me out. She went to get her blood done today and her white blood cell count is normal. She is going to get an ultrasound tomorrow. How can I be sure it isn't cancer??!
I know she has her tubes tied, she had 5 kids, she hasn't reached menopause yet and nobody in her family has had ovarian cancer to her knowledge. Those are all good signs. However she is having back pain and feeling kind of sick...and after that emergency room episode I am just worried. Is there anything specifically I should watch out for to tell the difference between cancer and a regular ovarian cyst?? She also had 2 days of bleeding this week and she thought it was her period but now she isn't sure.
Hi winking, the ultrasound will give the doctors a good idea of what is going on in the ovaries (if that is where this is coming from). There is a blood test (CA125? or is it CA25? I've forgotten) that is used to help determine how the ovaries are doing, but I don't know a lot about it (clearly - since I can't even remember what it is called).
Unfortunately there's nothing anyone on this board can tell you to assure you that it is NOT cancer. However, she's doing the very best by going for the u/s to try to rule out and drill down on the problem. The symptoms you describe could be alot of things and not necessarily cancer. We all seem to go to the big "C" as the cause but there are a host of things that can cause these symptoms.
If the ER said "ovarian cyst", know that every menstruating woman has ovarian cysts every month. They usually rupture and are reabsorbed without the woman ever knowing anything. So "cyst" in and of itself is nothing to be concerned about. On the flip side, there is much more information that must be developed considering the other symptoms you note.
So while the waiting is difficult, you really must hold off until some diagnostic tests can be completed. Hope this helps....take care!
Mommyandwifey is correct. The ovarian cysts may actually have NOTHING to do with the pain that your aunt is experiencing. They may be normal follicular cysts that come and go with ovulation. The ultrasound will give them much more information and if the cysts are suspicious, they will show up as either very large and / or with solid components (complex cysts or solid tumours). Keep in mind, however, that even complex cysts are often benign and tumours can also be benign. They will usually remove these types of cysts in order to biopsy them and be sure.
At the moment nothing is for certain and the problem may have been caused by an appendix or gall stones among a host of other things. By the way, Pickles Eyes has made a good suggestion with the blood test for ovarian cancer. The test is for the level of CA-125 which is a tumour marker. A score of 40 and under is a normal score BUT it is well known that this test has a high rate of false positive an false negative meaning that sometimes the score is high and no cancer is present and other times the score is normal and there is cancer present (early stage). They are currently developing a new test for ovarian cancer and I believe it is even out on the market now. This new test tests for a series of biomarkers including CA-125 .. i believe it is called Ovasure or something like this. Gynecologists say that it is too early to say whether this test is good enough for screening. I personally wish they would find something soon. I have an 8 cm ovarian cyst on my left ovary which has been there for over a year. It is filled with fluid so they tell me that it is benign, however, one can never be 100% certain unless they biopsy it. Since it has been there for over a year ... Such is the uncertainty of living with ovarian cysts.
She went to get the ultrasound yesterday and they found 3 cysts on her right ovary (or left...not sure). They called her the next day and told her that and then scheduled her for pap. They still haven't said ANYTHING. I want to know if they think it is serious but they aren't saying. It seems that she is a very unlikely candidate for this disease but I still am worried. I can't sleep, I am crying all the time. The thought of them saying "you have cancer" to her.....my world would fall apart. I always think the worst in every situation and I know this could be just a common cyst problem that happens to millions of women....but I am praying that it is nothing severe. She is only 49....
Do not think that it is cancer when it has not been confirmed. You will worry yourself sick. Try to be positive because it could be several other treatable illnesses.
Nothing prepares you for when they say someone has cancer. You feel like something sucked all of the air out of the room and you wonder if you heard them right. Eventually you come to accept it and going for treatment becomes a part of your daily life. I went through all this with my mom when they found stage 3 ovarian cancer. 6 months of treatment and dealing with hairloss, she is fine now and have been cancer free for 2 years.
Either way, you will deal with it the best you know how and you will make it through it. Let's hope it is not cancer!
Get your aunt to get a copy of the radiologist's or gynecologist's report of the ultrasound. In it you will see a description of the cysts. How large they are and if they are complex or simple cysts.
Simple cysts of less than 10 cm are very unlikely to be malignant although they may cause problems due to their size and where they are located (ie. if they are pressing on the bladder or colon). There is also a risk of these things rupturing and causing the symptoms that you described (vomiting, diarrhea, extreme pain etc..).
Complex cysts are also most often benign but surgery is usually indicated in order to do a biopsy and be absolutely sure as ovarian cancer, when it is present, often comes in the form of a complex cyst or solid tumour. The way the cyst looks on the ultrasound will give them a pretty good idea of what it is and the report will give the radiologist's opinion or whether or not he or she thinks it is likely to be something sinister.
Do not freak out because this situation may very well be something not at all serious. If your aunt had another one of those cysts on her ovaries which ruptured, this would have caused her symptoms of pain and vomiting. Perimenopausal women are prone to hormonal changes and ovarian cysts so this may very well be the situation. You need to be as calm as possible until you have all of the facts in front of you. Whatever happens, you have to be confident that it will be handled in the best possible way.
Take care of yourself and all the best for your aunt. Come back and tell us how you and your aunt are doing.
Besides all of the great information that has been given here, I want to share a really good piece of advice I heard while I was waiting for some kind of test result this spring . . . Never waste a good worry.
It is hard to follow, but a pretty good mantra to keep telling yourself!
Worry never changes how the situation will turn out.