Can ascites be resolved with chemo/radiation therapy?

My mother has fluid in her abdomen which is causing increasing pressure. Has anyone had this condition and how was it treated? Will it go away? Thanks in advance.

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I developed ascites during the 'diagnostic' phase of my cancer. They were able to find out from the fluid that I indeed did have cancer. Of course many more tests followed. The diagnosis was ovarian or peritoneal cancer. They wouldn't know for certain until after surgery. They 'tapped' my abdomen to drain the fluid. This was done in a hospital by a physician. I felt 100% better immediately. However, the fluid returned. I had 2 more 'taps' before my debulking surgery. All this over a period of a month. After the surgery and during my chemotherapy, no further ascites. My diagnosis after surgery was Primary peritoneal cancer Stage IIIC.

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Any effective chemo will get rid of ascites.

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If there's a large amount of fluid in the abdomen, they sometimes remove it with a procedure called "paracentesis" where they insert a needle and drain off the fluid. They drained several large bottles from me (I think each bottle was a liter). However, some ascites remained in my legs and ankles but that went away after several rounds of chemo.

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Thank you so much for sharing this information with me. Please take care and keep fighting!

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Juan,

I also had Ascites at diagnoses and had a paracentesis. after that chemo kept it from returning. After surgery, however, it returned and my doctor's office would only do paracentesis once. When it kept quickly recurring, they put in a Pleurex drain (a minor surgical procedure) and a visiting nurse came to my house every other day and drained a liter of fluid. after the drain had been in for about 8 weeks the drain site became infected which was a big problem and I had to have the drain removed and go on antibiotics for six weeks. Eventually the new chemo dried up the Ascites. it is a horrible part of OVCA and I hope your mother gets relief soon.

Maggie

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As everyone has said, yes, ascities can be cleared up with chemo. It may take a while. It is a horribly uncomfortable part of this disease. Many of us have had it, some of us have gone through it twice. Most women, but not all, have it when they are diagnosed and their swollen tummies are a symptom that they are concerned about when they go to the doctor the first time. Some get it a second time and the gyn/oncs generally would rather have chemo resolve it. But, sometimes depending on how much there is they will drain it with the needle as described above. They are reluctant to do this and would prefer to let the chemo take its course. But, the key is that it takes time with chemo.

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Ascites was the first symptom that I had cancer. I had my stomach and pleural cavities drained several times before and after surgery. After surgery, my incision burst open, and my bandages and clothes had to be changed several times a day because so much fluid was leaking from my stomach. After surgery I also had about 20 pounds of fluid in each leg. All the fluid build up and retention gradually disappeared with chemo. (After my debulking surgery, I stayed in the hospital 45 days and my first three or four chemo treatments were during that period. By the time I went home, the ascites was gone, and I had no further problems with it.)

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Thank you so much for sharing with me your experience, ladies. This support group is truely wonderful. Please take care and keep fighting the cancer!

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Hi Juanjuan, ascites was what took me to the Doc. Had an ultrasound two weeks after it first started and that got the ball rolling but they didn't drain it until the Friday before I left the hospital. It has been the most uncomfortable part of this whole thing. They drained 4litres then 10 days later they drained another 4 then 10 days later another 4 then I started chemo the next day and it has never returned. That was in Aug/Sept 2010. I am in the middle of treatment for a reoccurence (Stage 111c PPC) and have just developed fluid retention in my lower legs and feet but don't think this is related to ascites. All the best for treatment for your Mum.

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Thank you, Hereshoping! They drained out 2.5 L of fluid today, then admitted my mom because she has a fever. They are not sure if it's caused by infection or the cancer. You take care! Keep fighting the fight!

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Effective chemo has controlled my acites for the last two years. Have only had 6 months of remission and am waiting right now on a ct scan to know what we are going to try next. Hope this helps. Tell your momnot to give up.

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Hi
Does anyone know how you can tell if the abdominal fluid is acites or lymphedema?

I know they are not both the same.

Many thanks to those who can tell
Lisa

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Thank you, Rescuecat! Keep fighting the fight! Never give up!

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Lisa, lymphedema causes swelling under the skin, usually in an arm or a leg. If your socks leave a pattern on your leg when you take them off at night that's very mild edema (I wouldn't worry about it) -- if that gets excessive, the fluid can increase the size of the leg by several inches. Mayo Clinic has a page on it here with a picture that is not too gross. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/lymphedema/DS00609/DSECTION=symptoms

Ascites is free fluid in the abdomen. It's like a water balloon is sitting inside the belly area. It will show up clearly in ultrasound scans and CT scans, even if the amount is small. When it's big the patient looks pregnant, except that instead of having a firm ball in front the fluid will spread out into the love handles. If you lie on your back the fluid flattens on top but the love handles budge. There's a diagram showing where ascites fluid is found here: http://medicallywiseinfo.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/Acsites0.jpg

One cause of ascites can be poor lymphatic drainage in the abdomen, so the two can be related and a lot of people with ascites also have edema in their legs.

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I have ascites from the cancer. The cancer cells are producing lots of fluid in the gut. I get really unconfortable when I'm full. I have a paracentesis ultrasound guide every 7-8 days. Its really awful to be full and when I'm emptied my gut hurts until it fills a little. My cancer is in the periotium.

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Lymph edema is usually in the extremities and with elevation it should decrease. Buying some Ted hose will also help to increase the venous return and decrease the edema. Ascites is different in the case of cancer its produced by the cancer cells. You can also have ascites from other disease like cirrhosis of the liver.

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TED hose really help! If the whole leg is swollen, get the thigh high kind. Be sure to measure the legs first. I know you can get them online or at Rite Aid. I am sure they are available other places as well.

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Hello, my daughter used a Pleurx drainage system it help for awhle. Again, everyone is differant. Some patients respond well and some do not... She was draining about 8 bottles of 1000 ml a day it did decreased to 1 day but it increased again to 2 to 3..
Do not want to be negative in regards to your mom everyone is not the same.. I wish your mom all the luck and her family .. ....
Always Yoli

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Thank you! Be strong, keep fighting! Your replies have been very helpful.

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