Choriocarcinoma Definition - What is Choriocarcinoma

Choriocarcinoma is a cancerous growth of the outer layer of the membrane (chorion) that surrounds a fetus in the womb.
Choriocarcinoma is relatively rare condition in the United States, occurring in about 1 out of every 45,000 pregnancies, and is more likely to occur in women over the age of 40.

Choriocarcinoma symptoms

An obstetrician looks for signs of the disease in pregnant women who have had the formation of a hydatidiform mole, which leads to an unusually large uterus for that stage of pregnancy.
But mole formations are not necessarily a sign of choriocarcinoma; they occur in about 1 out of every 2,000 pregnancies (especially in older women), and over 80 percent of these moles are benign.
Other symptoms of choriocarcinoma may include vaginal bleeding and extreme nausea.

After the removal of a hydatidiform mole, the effectiveness of treatment can be assessed by measuring human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) levels in the blood.
Normally, these levels should drop dramatically after the removal of the mole.
If the levels do not drop, this is a sign of a choriocarcinoma.
Repeated blood tests are made to determine the level of these hormones in the mother’s bloodstream. If this level remains above normal, treatment with anticancer drugs (chemotherapy) is given to destroy the growth.
The hydatidiform mole may also be suctioned from the uterus; occasionally, a hysterectomy will be performed (especially with older patients).
Choriocarcinoma may, on rare occasion, appear in the testes.

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