Ascites and pleural effusion
Fluid can accumulate in the abdomen or chest
as a side- effect of cancer. Fluid in the abdomen is called ascites,
while that in the chest is called a pleural effusion. These problems
are common in women with ovarian cancer.
A pleural effusion can make breathing difficult by compressing
the lungs as it accumulates. Ascites can be uncomfortable and can also
make breathing difficult.
The fluid can be removed using a syringe or by inserting a drain,
after the area has been numbed with local anaesthetic. The procedure
can be repeated if more fluid builds up. Ascites is not usually removed
before you have surgery, unless you are very uncomfortable. It will
be taken away using a suction tube at the start of the operation.
Treatment of the cancer cells using surgery and, particularly,
chemotherapy may reduce the rate at which fluid builds up. It may cause
the ascites and/or pleural effusion to disappear.