Choriocarcinoma: Not a Death Sentence
March 25, 2012
Choriocarcinoma: Not a Death Sentence
Choriocarcinoma, or also known as Gestational Trophoblastic Disease (GTD), is a very rare and malignant type of tumor. According to Spickler and Oberleitner (2011), Choriocarcinoma develops from genetically deformed germ cells which usually produce sperm or eggs (pp.1012-1014). Research shows no exact causes for the development of Choriocarcinoma (GTD). Early research shows that Choriocarcinoma was almost always found to be a fatal disease. There are no known means of prevention for this disease. According to Spickler and Oberleitner (2011), although Choriocarcinoma has the capability to metastasize extremely fast, there is a high possibility of a complete cure or remission even if the disease has been diagnosed in later stages of development even with metastases (pp.1012-1014). My research will show that it is not a dismal death sentence for those diagnosed with it.
Choriocarcinoma (GTD) is primarily found in women during their childbearing years however it has been diagnosed in men as well. This paper will concentrate on the causes, risk factors, and forms of treatment in women. Doctors have no exact explanation for the development of Choriocarcinoma (GTD), though there are many risk factors. Some of the leading causes are an ectopic pregnancy where the fetus starts development in the fallopian tube. According to Goldstein and Berkowitz (2004b) the development of Choriocarcinoma in the beginning stages of a pregnancy where the fetus develops only partially or not at all happens in about 50 percent of women who have been diagnosed with this cancer (pp. 2347-2367). In these cases there can be a history of what is called a hydatiform mole (a noncancerous growth), or a molar pregnancy. A molar pregnancy is a pregnancy where there may be a fetal sac, and possibly fetal heart tones, but the fetus or fetal tissue is consumed by a mass of abnormal or partially developed tissue. Because of the many abnormalities the fetus grows improperly, and soon dies. In either of these situations the uterus grows abnormally large, in a short amount of time. Vaginal bleeding is usually presented in either case.
Another leading cause of Choriocarcinoma is abortion. It can develop from tissue retained after the body’s natural expulsion of a fetus or a miscarriage. Women at risk of developing Choriocarcinoma are women under the age of 20 and those older than age 40, according to Goldstein and Berkowitz (2004b, pp. 2347-2367). According to Rastegari and Odle (2006) the development in older women stems from deciding to have babies later in life when the occurrences of certain types of cancers can happen (pp. 1008-1012). According to “Http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-Cancer-Care/adult/gestational-Trophoblastic-Disease/aboutGestational-Trophoblastic-Disease” (2012) another contributing risk factor is a woman’s blood type. There are no explained reasons, but women with B or AB have an elevated risk for Choriocarcinoma (GTD), says the center. The center also states that a woman who has low levels of beta carotene or vitamin A may be at a slightly higher risk.
According Spickler and Oberleitner (2011) the symptoms of Choriocarcinoma can depend on where the cancer begins and if it should metastasize. The most common symptom usually involves vaginal bleeding unassociated with a regular menstrual cycle (pp.1012-1014). There also can be abdominal pain and abdominal swelling. Choriocarcinoma can be associated with ovarian cysts which can be a source of the abdominal pain. The cancer can spread quickly through the bloodstream. It is stated by Goldstein and Berkowitz (2011a), if the cancer spreads outside of the uterus it can show up in the genital area in the form of purple...
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