Borderline Ovarian Cancer: Understanding Diagnosis and Treatment

Borderline Ovarian Cancer, sometimes referred to as ovarian tumors of low malignant potential (LMP), is a unique form of ovarian cancer that falls between benign and malignant tumors.

In this article, we’ll explore the nuances of Borderline Ovarian Cancer, from its diagnosis and treatment to the emotional aspects of coping with this less common but significant condition.

Understanding Borderline Ovarian Cancer

Borderline Ovarian Cancer shares some similarities with malignant ovarian cancer but differs in several key aspects. It is characterized by abnormal cells that do not invade nearby tissues as aggressively as malignant tumors. This type of cancer often occurs in younger women. Borderline Ovarian is considered rare and impacts an estimated ~5 women per 100,000 woman per year.

Diagnosis and Staging

Diagnosing Borderline Ovarian Cancer involves a series of tests similar to those used for other ovarian cancers:

  • Imaging Tests: Ultrasounds, CT scans, and MRIs help visualize the ovarian tumor and assess its size and extent. There is currently no definitive way to confirm diagnosis with out biopsy. At Isabelle Foundation, we are funding research to identify ways to diagnosis Ovarian Cancer.
  • Biopsy: A Gynecologic Oncologist Surgeon will pull a tissue sample normally during surgery for an initial pathology, but it can take up to two weeks to have a complete pathology report.

Creating a Treatment Plan: The treatment of Borderline Ovarian Cancer typically differs from that of malignant ovarian cancer due to its less aggressive nature:

  • Surgery: Surgery is the primary treatment, and the goal is to remove the tumor while preserving fertility whenever possible. Selecting a Gynecologic Oncologist Surgeon will greatly impact patient outcome. Research has shown that the surgery success rate statistically doubles if a patient surgery is performed by a Gynecologic Oncologist Surgeon vs a General Surgeon.
  • Hysterectomy: In some cases, a hysterectomy (referred to as de-bulking surgery to remove the cancer) may be recommended, especially if the disease is more advanced or if the patient has completed childbearing.
  • Chemotherapy: Unlike malignant ovarian cancer, chemotherapy is NOT recommended for Borderline Ovarian Cancer. Surgery and ongoing surveillance are the current standard of care for Borderline Ovarian Cancer.
  • Second Opinion: With the rarity of a Borderline Ovarian diagnosis, we strongly recommend you get a second opinion from another specialized physician. It is unfortunately commonly incorrectly diagnosed with Low Grade Serous.

The Emotional Rollercoaster: A Borderline Ovarian Cancer diagnosis can evoke a mix of emotions similar to those experienced with other cancers:

  • Fear and Uncertainty: The uncertainty of the disease and its potential impact on fertility can be emotionally challenging.
  • Coping Strategies: Seeking support from loved ones, mental health professionals, or support groups can provide valuable assistance in navigating these emotions.
  • Menopause: A hysterectomy in younger woman will cause menopause quickly, as most Gynecologic Oncologists do not recommend hormone replacement therapy (HRT) which will material impacts for the female patient.

Support Systems and Resources: Building a strong support network and accessing resources can help individuals and their loved ones cope with Borderline Ovarian Cancer:

  • Medical Team: Engage with a healthcare team that specializes in ovarian cancer to ensure you receive the most appropriate care.
  • Fertility Preservation: If fertility preservation is a concern, consult with a fertility specialist to explore options before treatment.
  • Support Groups: Connect with others who have experienced Borderline Ovarian Cancer to share experiences and gain insight.

Borderline Ovarian Cancer may be less aggressive than other forms of ovarian cancer, but it still presents unique challenges and uncertainties. By understanding the diagnosis process, exploring treatment options tailored to individual needs, addressing emotional well-being, and accessing support systems, individuals and their loved ones can navigate this journey with resilience.

The Not These Ovaries is here to provide support, information, and hope for those affected by Borderline Ovarian Cancer.