Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common type of cancer in women. While the cause of ovarian cancer is unknown, the risk for developing ovarian cancer appears to be caused by many factors. The more children a woman has and the earlier in life she gives birth, the lower the risk of developing ovarian cancer. Genetics are responsible in some cases, and women who have a personal history of breast cancer or a family history of breast or ovarian cancer are at increased for developing ovarian cancer. Age also plays a factor, as older women are at the highest risk. Symptoms of ovarian cancer are typically vague, and can be attributed to other, more common conditions. Typically, when the cancer has been diagnosed, the tumor has spread.

Symptoms include:

  • Bloating or swollen belly area
  • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
  • Pelvic or lower abdominal pain; the area may feel "heavy" to you (pelvic heaviness)
  • Vaginal bleeding that occurs in between periods

Digestive Symptoms

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Unexplained back pain that worsens over time
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Constipation
  • Indigestion
  • Lack of appetite
  • Increased gas

Other Symptoms

  • Needing to urinate more than usual
  • Excessive hair growth that is coarse and dark

Surgery is often used to treat all stages of ovarian cancer. Surgery may involve removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes, uterus, partial or complete removal of the omentum, or the removal of lymph node or other tissues in the pelvis. Chemotherapy may be used after surgery to treat any remnants of the disease, or if the disease comes back.

Ovarian Cancer

Learn more about Ovarian Cancer Treatment Options

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