Ovarian cancer : Causes-Symptoms-Diagnosis-Treatment


What is Ovarian Cancer?

Ovarian cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in women.

The ovaries are two small organs located in the lower part of the stomach. They are connected to the womb and store a woman's supply of eggs.

What is Ovarian Cancer?
Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer mostly affects women who have gone through the menopause (usually over 50 years old) but it can sometimes affect younger women.

  1. Female Reproductive System

  • Internal reproductive organs

  1. Ovaries

  2. Fallopian tubes

  3. Uterus

  4. Cervix

  5. Placenta

  • External reproductive organs

  1. Vulva

  2. Clitoris

  3. Vagina

Medical terms

  • Ovarian cancer is a growth of cells that forms in the ovaries. The cells multiply quickly and might invade and destroy healthy body tissue. The feminine genital system contains 2 ovaries, one on either side of the uterus. The ovaries — every concerning the dimensions of an almond — turn out eggs (ova) furthermore because the hormones sex hormone and progesterone. Gonad cancer treatment sometimes involves surgery and chemotherapy. 
  • risk factors You're at risk if you: Have a family history of ovarian cancer Researchers are looking into whether heredity plays a role - because it does in many other cancers But overall only about 5 percent of ovarian cancer cases are thought to be hereditary Are postmenopausal and between the ages of 50 and 70 years old Ovarian cancer is far more common in older women than younger ones but can occur at any age.
  • screening Ovarian cancer usually does not have symptoms at its early stages so regular screening can be crucial for catching the disease before it spreads Some of these screenings include transvaginal ultrasound CA 125 blood tests and pelvic exam People who are most at risk for ovarian cancer include women who do not bear children are overweight or obese and those with a family history of the disease.

Symptoms Ovarian cancer

When gonad cancer initially develops, it would not cause any noticeable symptoms. Once ovarian cancer symptoms happen, they're sometimes attributed to other, additional common conditions.

Signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer may include:

  • Abdominal bloating or swelling

  • Quickly feeling full when eating

  • Weight loss

  • Discomfort in the pelvic area

  • Fatigue

  • Back pain

  • Changes in bowel habits, such as constipation

  • A frequent need to urinate

When to see a doctor

Make a meeting along with your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you. 

See a GP if:

  • You have been experiencing bloating more than 12 times a month.

  • You might have other symptoms of ovarian cancer that haven't gone away.

  • You have a family history of ovarian cancer, and you are worried that you may be at a higher risk of getting it.

It's possible you may have cancer, but it's best to check with your GP first. He or she can do some simple tests to determine if you do.

To learn more about how to diagnose ovarian cancer, please read the following article.

If you have already seen a doctor and your symptoms have not improved or gotten worse, go back to them and tell them what's been happening.

If you have a family history of ovarian cancer, your doctor may refer you to a geneticist to discuss the option of genetic testing to check your ovarian cancer risk.

Causes Ovarian cancer

It' not clear what causes gonad cancer, tho' doctors have known things which will increase the chance of the disease. Doctors apprehend that ovarian cancer begins once cells in or close to the ovaries develop changes (mutations) in their deoxyribonucleic acid. A cell' DNA contains the directions that tell the cell what to do. The changes tell the cells to grow and multiply quickly, making a mass (tumor) of cancer cells. The cancer cells continue living when healthy cells die. they will invade close tissues and break faraway from an initial tumor to unfold (metastasize) to alternative components of the body. 

There is not yet a specific cause for ovarian cancer.

There are some things that may increase a woman's risk of getting HPV, such as: -Having multiple sexual partners -Being in a high-risk area, such as a college campus or a city where there is a lot of sexual activity -Having an older brother or sister who has HPV

  • being over the age of 50

  • If you have a family history of ovarian or breast cancer, this could mean that you have inherited genes that increase your cancer risk.

  • HRT – which is used to treat menopause symptoms – although it may increase the risk of cancer is likely to be very small.

  • Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue that behaves like the lining of the womb is found outside the womb.

  • being overweight

  • smoking

  • lack of exercise

  • exposure to asbestos

Types of ovarian cancer

The type of cell wherever the cancer begins verifys the sort of sex gland cancer you've got and helps your doctor determine that treatments are best for you. sex gland cancer sorts include:

  • Epithelial ovarian cancer. This type is the most common. It includes several subtypes, including serous carcinoma and mucinous carcinoma.

  • Stromal tumors. These rare tumors are usually diagnosed at an earlier stage than other ovarian cancers.

  • Germ cell tumors. These rare ovarian cancers tend to occur at a younger age.

Risk factors Ovarian cancer

Factors that can increase your risk of ovarian cancer include:

  • Older age. The risk of ovarian cancer increases as you age. It's most often diagnosed in older adults.

  • Inherited gene changes. A small proportion of gonad cancers are caused by sequence changes you inherit from your parents. The genes that increase the danger of ovarian cancer embody BRCA1 and BRCA2. These genes conjointly increase the risk of breast cancer. Many different gene changes are illustrious to extend the risk of ovarian cancer, as well as gene changes related to kill syndrome and therefore the genes BRIP1, RAD51C and RAD51D. 

  • Family history of ovarian cancer. If you have blood relatives who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, you may have an increased risk of the disease.

  • Being overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of ovarian cancer.

  • Postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy. Taking internal secretion replacement medical aid to manage climacteric signs and symptoms might increase the chance of sex gland cancer. 

  • Endometriosis. Endometriosis is an often painful disorder in which tissue similar to the tissue that lines the inside of your uterus grows outside your uterus.

  • Age when menstruation started and ended. Beginning discharge at Associate in Nursing early age or beginning biological time at a later age, or both, could increase the chance of ovarian cancer.

  • Never having been pregnant. If you've never been pregnant, you may have an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Prevention Ovarian cancer

There's no certain thanks to forestall gonad cancer. however there is also ways in which to scale back your risk:

  • Consider taking birth control pills. Ask your doctor whether or not contraception pills (oral contraceptives) are also right for you. Taking birth control pills reduces the chance of female internal reproductive organ cancer. however these medications do have risks, therefore discuss whether the advantages outweigh those risks supporting your situation. 

  • Discuss your risk factors with your doctor. If you've got a case history of breast and gonad willcers, bring this up together with your doctor. Your doctor can verify what this might mean for your own risk of cancer. you'll be named a factortic counselor who can assist you decide whether or not genetic testing is also right for you. If you're found to possess a gene amendment that will increase your risk of ovarian cancer, you may take into account surgery to get rid of your ovaries to stop cancer. 

Can ovarian cancer be cured by removing the ovary?

Cancer cells can spread throughout the body While a woman’s survival rate for ovarian cancer is relatively good -- about 85 percent -- if the disease has spread the five-year survival drops to only 15 percent The American Cancer Society reports that doctors typically monitor signs of recurrence in women who have had their ovaries removed and also recommend regular follow-up visits with a gynecologist as well as screenings using transvaginal ultrasounds Symptoms of ovarian cancer include: chronic pelvic pain; persistent bloating; periodic nausea and vomiting; indigestion without heartburn symptoms; constipation or diarrhea without an identifiable cause.

What stage is ovarian cancer usually diagnosed?

The symptoms of ovarian cancer often are not present until the disease is in advanced stages For example ovarian cancer typically does not cause pain like other cancers do; but when it does doctors may use a tumor marker test to make sure that the pain is not caused by something else.

Can ovarian cancer come back after a total hysterectomy?

While it is possible for ovarian cancer to come back the risk of recurrence after a total hysterectomy is low A study from the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery found that women who underwent hysterectomies before their ovaries were removed had about a 1% chance of having cancer return in their ovary at some point over an average follow-up time of seven years This was compared to an 8% chance among women with partial or complete removal of both ovaries during surgery.

Does removing your ovaries shorten your life?

The term “hysterectomy” has long been used to describe the surgical removal of the uterus However over the years it has come to include the removal of other reproductive organs as well including tubes and ovaries A woman who undergoes a hysterectomy may be left with: a perineal pouch (a section of skin connecting the vagina to the anus); a urostomy (the opening for elimination) or ureterostomy (where urine is diverted from its normal path through the bladder) — these extra openings are created during surgery so that urine and stool can exit your body.

Diagnosis Ovarian cancer

Tests and procedures used to diagnose ovarian cancer include:

  • Pelvic exam. During a girdle exam, your doctor inserts gloved  fingers into your channel and at the same time presses a hand on your abdomen so as to feel (palpate) your pelvic organs. The doctor conjointly visually examines your external genitalia, vagina and cervix. 

  • Imaging tests. Tests, such as ultrasound or CT scans of your abdomen and pelvis, may help determine the size, shape and structure of your ovaries.

  • Blood tests. Blood take a look at may embrace organ operated tests which will facilitate verify your overall health. Your doctor may additionally  test your blood for neoplasm markers that indicate sex gland cancer. For example, a cancer substance (CA) a hundred twenty five test can discover a macromolecule that' typically found on the surface of ovarian cancer cells. These tests can't tell your doctor whether or not you have got cancer, however they will give clues concerning your identification and prognosis. 

  • Surgery. Sometimes your doctor can't be certain of your diagnosis until you undergo surgery to remove an ovary and have it tested for signs of cancer. (biopsy)

  • Genetic testing. Your doctor may advocate testing a sample of your blood to appear for factor amendments that increase the danger of sex gland cancer. Knowing you've got a familial change in your DNA helps your doctor create selections concerning your treatment plan. can} would like to share the knowledge together with your blood relatives, appreciate your siblings and your children, since they additionally may have a risk of getting those self same gene changes. Once it's confirmed that you just have ovarian cancer, your doctor will use information from your tests and procedures to assign your cancer a stage. The stages of ovarian cancer vary from one to 4, that are usually indicated with Roman numerals I to IV. the all-time low stage indicates that the cancer is confined to the ovaries. By stage 4, the cancer has spread to distant areas of the body. 

Treatment Ovarian cancer

Treatment of female internal reproductive organ cancer sometimes involves a mixture of surgery and chemotherapy. alternative treatments are also utilized in certain situations.

The treatment for ovarian cancer depends on the extent of the cancer and your general health.

The main treatments are:

  • Surgery will seek to remove as much of the cancer as possible – this may involve removing both ovaries, the womb, and the tubes that connect them.

  • Cancer chemotherapy is a treatment that is typically used after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells, but it can also be used before surgery to reduce the size of the cancer.

The treatment will aim to cure the cancer as much as possible. If the cancer has spread too far, the goal is to relieve symptoms and control the cancer as long as possible.


Operations to remove ovarian cancer include:

  • Surgery to remove one ovary. For early-stage cancer that hasn't spread beyond one ovary, surgery may involve removing the affected ovary and its fallopian tube. This procedure may preserve your ability to have children.

  • Surgery to remove both ovaries. If cancer is present in both your ovaries, but there are no signs of additional cancer, your surgeon may remove both ovaries and both fallopian tubes. This procedure leaves your uterus intact, so you may still be able to become pregnant using your own frozen embryos or eggs or with eggs from a donor.

  • Surgery to remove both ovaries and the uterus. If your cancer is a lot in depth or if you don't want to preserve your ability to possess children, your Dr. can take away the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the uterus, close humor nodes and a fold of fatty abdominal tissue (omentum). 

  • Surgery for advanced cancer. If your cancer is advanced, your doctor might advocate surgery to get rid of the maximum amount of the cancer as possible. generally therapy is given before or once surgery during this situation. 


Chemotherapy could be a drug treatment that uses chemicals to kill aggressive cells within the body, together with cancer cells. therapy medication may be injected into a vein or taken by mouth. Therapy is commonly used when surgery to kill any cancer cells which may remain. It may also be used before surgery. In certain situations, chemotherapy drugs are also heated and infused into the abdomen throughout surgery (hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy). The drugs are left in situ for a definite quantity of your time before they're drained. Then the operation is completed.

Targeted therapy

Targeted drug treatments target specific weaknesses gift among willcer cells. By offensive these weaknesses, targeted drug treatments can cause cancer cells to die. If you're considering targeted medical aid for sex gland cancer, your doctor might check your cancer cells to see that targeted therapy is presumably to own a sway on your cancer.

Hormone therapy

Hormone medical care uses medicine to dam the results of the hormone estrogen on gonad cancer cells. Some ovarian cancer cells use estrogen to assist them grow, thus block estrogen may help manage the cancer. Internal secretion therapy could be a treatment possibility for a few varieties of slow-growing ovarian cancers. it's going to even be an option if the cancer comes back once initial treatments.


Immunotherapy uses the system to fight cancer. The body' disease-fighting immune system might not attack cancer cells as a result of them manufacturing proteins that facilitate them hide from the immune system cells. therapy works by busybodied therewith process. therapy may be Associate in Nursing choice for treating female internal reproductive organ cancer in bound situations.

Supportive (palliative) care

Palliative care is specialized treatment that focuses on providing relief from pain and other symptoms of a heavy illness. Palliative care specialists work with you, your family and your other doctors to produce an additional layer of support that enhances your in progress care. Palliative care is used whereas undergoing other aggressive treatments, love surgery and chemotherapy. Once palliative care is employed alongside all of the opposite acceptable treatments, folks with cancer might feel higher and live longer. Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses and other specially trained professionals. Palliative care groups aim to enhance the standard of life for folks with cancer and their families. this manner of care is obtainable aboard curative or different treatments you will be receiving. 

Coping and support

A diagnosis of gonad cancer is often overwhelming. In time you'll notice ways that to influence your feelings, however within the meantime, you would possibly find it useful to:

  • Find someone to talk with. You may feel comfy discussing your feelings with an acquaintance or family member, otherwise you may like meeting with a proper support group. Support teams for the families of individuals with cancer are available. 

  • Let people help. Cancer treatments can be exhausting. Let people know what would be most useful for you.

  • Set reasonable goals. Having goals helps you feel in control and can give you a sense of purpose. But choose goals that you can reach.

  • Take time for yourself. Eating well, relaxing and getting enough rest can help combat the stress and fatigue of cancer.

Preparing for your appointment

Start by creating a meeting together with your general practitioner or medical specialist if you've got any signs or symptoms that worry you. If your medical care doctor suspects that you simply have fruitful organ|gonad|sex gland} cancer, you'll be cited a specialist in feminine reproductive cancers (gynecological medical specialist). A medical specialty oncologist is an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) who has extra coaching within the diagnosing and treatment of ovarian cancer and alternative gynecological cancers.

What you can do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions, such as not eating solid food on the day before your appointment.

  • Write down your symptoms, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason why you scheduled the appointment.

  • Write down your key medical information, including other conditions.

  • Write down key personal information, including any major changes or stressors in your life.

  • Make a list of all your medications, vitamins or supplements.

  • Ask a relative or friend to accompany you, to help you remember what the doctor says.

  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?

  • What kinds of tests do I need?

  • What treatments are available, and what side effects can I expect?

  • What is the prognosis?

  • If I still want to have children, what options are available to me?

  • I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?

In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask other questions that occur to you.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is probably going to raise you a variety of questions. Being able to answer them may create time to travel over points you wish to pay longer on. you'll be asked:

  • When did you first begin experiencing symptoms, and how severe are they?

  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?

  • What, if anything, seems to improve or worsen your symptoms?

  • Do you have any relatives with ovarian or breast cancer?

  • Are there other cancers in your family history?

Outlook for ovarian cancer

If ovarian cancer is detected and treated early, the prognosis is better.

It's often not possible to prevent the spread of the infection until it's already developed.

There is a high chance that cancer will come back after treatment has been successful.

If cancer comes back, it is usually not curable. However, chemotherapy may help reduce symptoms and keep the cancer under control for a few months or years.

About half of women with ovarian cancer will live for at least 5 years after diagnosis, and about 1 in 3 will live for at least 10 years.

Cancer Research UK has more information about the survival rates for ovarian cancer.

General summary

  1. Ovarian cancer accounts for 22% of all female cancers and has a 5-year survival rate of only 50% which is much lower than the 5-year survival rate for other types of cancer Current clinical trials for ovarian cancer use cutting-edge treatments that could potentially double or triple the current 5-year survival rates.

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