Women’s health: Primary Peritoneal Cancer

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- Primary Peritoneal Cancer (PPC) is a somewhat rare form of cancer. The cells are similar to that of ovarian and fallopian tube cancer and there is evidence suggesting PPC and ovarian cancer come from the fallopian tubes, says Saint Peter’s Health Partner’s Dr. Heidi Godoy.

The cell structure is similar in these three cancers, that’s why Dr. Godoy says they are often grouped together when talked about. She spoke with News10 ABC’s Christina Arangio about PPC, its relations to ovarian and fallopian cancer, symptoms, surgical treatment with follow-up chemotherapy, and how women can prevent being diagnosed with this group of cancers at a later stage.

PPC, ovarian and fallopian cancer is most often diagnosed during stage 3 in women, says Dr. Godoy. Early warning signs like gastrointestinal problems, abdominal bloating, and constipation are often not correlated with PPC, ovarian or fallopian cancer says Dr. Godoy as well as the National Cancer Institute.

Because early symptoms of PPC, ovarian, and fallopian tube cancer often look like gastrointestinal or urinary problems, an extended amount of time can go by from the time the symptoms began to the time of a cancer diagnosis. Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths among women, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Symptoms of PPC/ovarian/fallopian tube cancer

  • Pain, swelling, or a feeling of pressure in the abdomen or pelvis.
  • Urinary urgency or frequency.
  • Difficulty eating or feeling full.
  • A lump in the pelvic area.
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as gas, bloating, or constipation.

*Source: National Cancer Institute

Treatment for will put PPC and fallopian tube cancer into remission but it’s not uncommon for the disease to come back within months or years. The Foundation for Women’s Cancer says the prognosis for women who do have a recurrence is not promising and that a lengthy remission can often mean other recurrences.

Watch: Full interview with Saint Peter’s Health Partner’s Gynecologic Oncologist Dr. Heidi Godoy

Part one: Dr. Godoy explains the relationship between PPC, ovarian, and fallopian tube cancer.

Part two: Dr. Godoy talks about what a diagnosis of PPC, ovarian, or fallopian tube cancer means for her patients.

Part three: Dr. Godoy explains why it’s imperative for women to see their gynecologist once a year, even if they are not due for a pap smear.

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