Sometimes ovarian cancer can cause fluid to build up in different parts of the body.
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This is when fluid collects in the abdomen. It causes swelling and pressure, which can be uncomfortable and make you feel breathless.
If you have ascites, your doctor may inject a local anaesthetic into the abdomen and then insert a needle to take a sample of the fluid. This is called a paracentesis or ascitic tap. The fluid sample is sent to a laboratory to be examined under a microscope for cancer cells.
Sometimes, to make you feel more comfortable, the doctor will remove all the remaining fluid from your abdomen. It will take a few hours for the fluid to drain into a drainage bag and then the tube will be removed from your abdomen.
If the cancer has spread to the lungs, fluid builds up in the area between the lung and the chest wall (pleural space). It can cause pain and breathlessness. The fluid can be drained using a procedure called a thoracentesis or pleural tap. Your doctor will inject a local anaesthetic into the chest area, and then insert a needle into the pleural space to drain the fluid.
Podcast: Coping with a Cancer Diagnosis
Dr Nisha Jagasia, Gynaecological Oncologist, Mater Hospital Brisbane, QLD; Sue Hayes, Consumer; Bronwyn Jennings, Gynaecology Oncology Clinical Nurse Consultant, Mater Health, QLD; Dr Andrew Lee, Radiation Oncologist, Canberra Region Cancer Centre and Canberra Hospital, ACT; A/Prof Tarek Meniawy, Medical Oncologist, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, WA; Caitriona Nienaber, Cancer Council WA; Jane Power, Consumer; A/Prof Sam Saidi, Senior Staff Specialist, Gynaecological Oncology, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW.
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