Concerning Ovarian Masses
Lately, I have seen a fair amount of Gynecologic pathology. I have treated pelvic abscesses (pus in the pelvis) related to pelvic inflammatory disease or complications of pregnancy and delivery. The number of ovarian cysts, tumors and cancers has also increased in the last 9 months.
Sometimes, the ovary produces benign cysts (fluid-filled mass) that can grow significantly in size. Sometimes, the cyst becomes so large that it creates a mass in the lower abdomen that is clearly seen and felt. Other times, the large cyst will become twisted around its own blood supply and cause pain due to the lack of blood flow to the organ.
Cancer care is a difficult task here. We do not have the state of the art imaging technology, labwork, pathology, or chemotherapy. Sometimes, we ARE able to do surgery to remove the mass and improve the patient’s quality of life. This is often for palliation or comfort care only. Once we opened the patient documented in the photos below, we realized that the tumor was cancer and it was already spreading throughout the abdomen.
Another woman came in with complaints of abdominal pain. Ultrasound revealed a complex mass on the ovary. It was a mix of solid and liquid component. After we removed the ovary, we opened it to find that it was a teratoma which had a large hairball inside. Sometimes, these types of masses will have fully developed teeth inside.
My training was not in gynecology or gynecologic surgery, but I am thankful for the skills to be able to help improve the patient’s quality of life.