Krukenberg Tumor – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
Krukenberg tumors can be seen in all age groups, with an average age of 45 years. In most countries, cancer that has metastasized to the ovary accounts for only about 1 to 2% of ovarian cancer; in the remainder, the ovary itself is the primary cancer site.
Cause of Krukenberg Tumor
Diet appears to play a major role in the development of stomach cancer. Nitroso compounds such as nitrites (found in smoked meats and fish) and nitrates (used in food preservatives), and high salt intake, likely contribute to this disease, whereas fresh vegetables are protective. The question of whether green tea also has any protective effects remains debatable. In women, stomach cancer can spread to the ovaries, referred to as a Krukenberg tumor.
Krukenberg tumors often come to the attention when they cause abdominal or pelvic pain, bloating, ascites, or pain during sexual intercourse. Krukenberg tumors can occasionally provoke a reaction of the ovarian stroma which leads to hormone production, that results in vaginal bleeding, a change in menstrual habits, or hirsutism, or occasionally virilization as a main symptom.
All these symptoms are non-specific and can also arise with a range of problems other than cancer, and a diagnosis can only be made following confirmatory investigations such as computed tomography (CT) scans, laparotomy and/or a biopsy of the ovary.
Since Krukenberg tumors are secondary (metastatic), management might logically be driven by identifying and treating the primary cancer. The optimal treatment of Krukenberg tumors is unclear. The role of surgical resection has not been adequately addressed but if metastasis is limited to the ovaries, surgery may improve survival. The role of chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy is uncertain but may be sometimes be beneficial.
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