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Science
CASE NOTES
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Tuesday 21:00-21:30
Repeat Wednesday 16:30
Dr Mark Porter gives listeners the low-down on what the medical profession does and doesn't know. Each week an expert in the studio tackles a particular topic and there are reports from around the UK on the health of the nation - and the NHS.
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LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 10 February
PRESENTER
DR MARK PORTER
Dr Mark Porter
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Tuesday 10 February 2009
Ovaries

Full programme transcript >>

The Ovary

In this episode of Case Notes, Dr Mark Porter hears all about the ovary.  

His guest in the studio is Mr Peter Bowen Simpkins who is a Consultant Gynaecologist and Medical Director of the London Women’s Clinic.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

At least one in twenty women in the UK have polycystic ovary syndrome – a condition associated with three classic features:

• Sufferers have an excess of male hormones - or androgens - causing acne and unwanted facial hair which is also known as hirsutism.

• They have multiple cysts on their ovaries visible on ultrasound

• They have irregular or absent periods, so often have difficulty getting pregnant

In addition to this, they are often, but not always, overweight.

Mark speaks to Dr Gordana Prelevic, Consultant Endocrinologist at the Royal Free Hospital in London with a special interest in PCOS, who explains how the condition is diagnosed and treated, and to Stella, who has lived with PCOS for almost 40 years.

Age and the Ovary

Woman are born with a finite supply of eggs that age along with them.

As more couples put off starting a family – the average age of women having their first baby in the UK is now around 30 – a growing number are worried about leaving it too late.

Anna Lacey visits the SMS Women’s Health Clinic in London to meet two women planning to have their ovarian reserve assessed - a way of measuring how much "life" is left in their ovaries, which is an indication of their their chances of conceiving.

Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women and is responsible for close to 5,000 deaths every year in the UK.

It’s a difficult condition to diagnose as the symptoms tend to be vague and are easily confused with much more common complaints like irritable bowel syndrome or urine infections.

Usha Menon, Head of the Gynaecological Cancer Research Centre at University College London, tells Mark about early trials of a screening programme for ovarian cancer which she hopes will pick up cases early enough to treat them.

Next week: Emergency Medicine
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