OTOSCOPE
OVARY, CANCER OF
O
otoscope An instrument, also called an
auroscope, for examining the outer-ear
canal and the eardrum. An otoscope
illuminates and magnifies the inside of
the ear. Otoscopy (examination using
an otoscope) is performed to detect
physical abnormalities such as inflam-
mation or pus in the outer-ear canal
(see
otitis externa)
and distortion or
rupture of the eardrum.
ototoxicity Toxic damage to the struc-
tures of the inner ear. High doses of
certain drugs (such as
aminoglycoside
antibiotics) may cause this type of ear
damage, resulting in impaired hearing
and balance.
out-of-body experience A feeling of
leaving one's body and observing oneself
from another dimension. The experi-
ence, which is thought to be due to
disturbance of brain function, is report-
ed by some patients following a general
anaesthetic or a medical emergency.
outpatient treatment Medical care on
a same-day basis in a hospital or clinic.
ovarian cyst An abnormal, fluid-filled
swelling in an
ovary
. Ovarian cysts are
common and, in most cases, noncancer-
ous. The most common type, a follicular
cyst, is one in which the egg-producing
follicle enlarges and fills with fluid.
Cysts may also occur in the corpus
luteum, a mass of tissue that forms from
the follicle after
ovulation
. Other types
include
dermoid cysts
and cancerous
cysts (see
ovary, cancer of
).
Ovarian cysts are often symptomless,
but some cause abdominal discomfort,
pain during intercourse, or irregularities
of menstruation such as
amenorrhoea
,
menorrhagia,
or
dysmenorrhoea.
Severe
abdominal pain, nausea, and fever may
develop if twisting or rupture of a cyst
occurs. This condition requires surgery.
An ovarian cyst may be discovered
during a routine
pelvic examination
and
its position and size confirmed by ultra-
sound or
laparoscopy.
In many cases,
simple ovarian cysts - thin-walled or
fluid-filled cysts - resolve themselves.
However, complex cysts (such as der-
moid cysts) usually require surgical
removal. If an ovarian cyst is particu-
larly large, the ovary may need to be
removed (see
oophorectomy
).
ovary One of a pair of almond-shaped
glands situated on either side of the
uterus
immediately below the opening
of the
fallopian tubes.
Each ovary con-
tains numerous cavities called
follicles
,
in which egg cells (see
ovum
) develop.
The ovaries also produce the female sex
hormones
oestrogen
and
progesterone
.
Empty follicle
Blood vessel ,
STRUCTURE OF AN OVARY
ovary, cancer of A malignant growth of
the
ovary.
The cancer may be either pri-
mary (arising in the ovary) or secondary
(due to the spread of cancer from
another part of the body). Ovarian cancer
can occur at any age but is most com-
mon after 50 and in women who have
never had children. A family history of
cancer of the ovary, breast, or colon,
especially in close relatives under 50, is
an important risk factor. Taking
oral con-
traceptives
reduces the risk.
In most cases, ovarian cancer causes
no symptoms until it is widespread. The
first symptoms may include vague dis-
comfort and swelling in the abdomen;
nausea and vomiting; abnormal vaginal
bleeding; and
ascites
.
If ovarian cancer is suspected, a doc-
tor will carry out a physical examination
to detect any swellings in the pelvis. A
laparoscopy
will usually be performed
to confirm the diagnosis.
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