The ovaries are the parts of the female reproductive system that produce a woman’s eggs and female hormones.
- Mass felt in the abdomen
- Distension or swelling of abdomen
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding (between menstrual periods or after menopause)
- Pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen
- Back pain
- Feeling full even with small portions of food
- Loss of appetite
- More frequent or urgent need to urinate and/or constipation.
How do you get ovarian cancer?
There is no sure way to know if you will get ovarian cancer. But, there are several factors that put you at risk. These include:
- Having a close family member with a history of ovarian cancer
- Having a genetic mutation (abnormality) called BRCA1 or BRCA
- Having a gene connected with Lynch syndrome
- History of breast, uterine, or colon cancer
- Middle-age or older age
- Having an Eastern European or Ashkenazi Jewish background
- Having endometriosis (a condition in which tissue from the lining of the uterus grows elsewhere in the body).
- Nulliparity (describes a woman who has not given birth)
- Fertility treatments
- Being overweight has been linked to increased incidence of ovarian cancer.
- Being on hormone replacement therapy
What are the stages of ovarian cancer?
After a woman is diagnosed with ovarian cancer, doctors will try to find out the cancer’s stage. This helps them to know about how far the cancer has spread so that they can treat it accordingly.
The stages of ovarian cancer range from stage I (1) through IV (4). The lower the number, the less the cancer has spread.
- Stage 1: Cancer is limited to one or both ovaries.
- Stage 2: Cancer has spread outside of ovaries but limited to the pelvis.
- Stage 3: Cancer has spread outside of the pelvis, but limited to the abdomen, or lymph node involvement, but not including the inside of the liver and spleen
- Stage 4: Cancer has spread to the liver or outside of the abdomen like to lungs.
Can Ovarian Cancer Be Found Early?
Only about 20% of ovarian cancers are diagnosed at an early stage. About 94% of patients live longer than 5 years after diagnosis when they find the cancer early.
Ovarian cancer can be found early by
- Regular checkup of women’s health: A regular pelvic examination can help detect ovarian cancers early by careful palpation (the doctor feels for abnormalities with their hands).
- Consulting a doctor in case of ovarian cancer symptoms: Prompt attention to symptoms may improve the chances of early diagnosis and successful treatment.
Screening tests are used to detect cancer in people with no symptoms. There is not enough research yet that has found a screening test to accurately detect ovarian cancer at an early stage. However, doctors have been using tests such as transvaginal ultrasound (TVUS) and the CA-125 blood test to gain some early insight into potential ovarian cancer.
TVUS (transvaginal ultrasound): A probe inserted into the vagina and images are cast on the sonography screen to check if there is an ovarian tumor. The shortcoming of TVUS is that it cannot distinguish between a cancerous ovarian mass and a noncancerous ovarian mass.
CA-125 blood test: This test measures the amount of a protein called CA-125 in the blood. High CA-125 levels are suggestive of ovarian cancer. But, the problem with using this test for ovarian cancer screening is that an increased level of CA-125 is also found in other common conditions such as endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease. Also, not everyone who has ovarian cancer has a high CA-125 level.
A CT Scan is further used to confirm the diagnosis of ovarian tumor in case of abnormal CA-125 level or abnormal TVUS.
Some organizations advocate the use of the tests, TVUS and CA-125 test to identify those women who have a high risk of ovarian cancer due to a hereditary genetic syndrome such as Lynch syndrome, BRCA gene mutations or a strong family history of breast and ovarian cancer.
A Pap test or HPV (human papillomavirus) test is the most widely used screening test for cervical cancer, but it is not a very effective test for ovarian cancer. Even if ovarian cancers are found through Pap tests, they usually are already at an advanced stage.
Latest Cancer News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top What Are the Symptoms of Stage 1 Ovarian Cancer Related Articles
CA 125 Ovarian Tumor Marker Blood TestCA 125 is a protein, and a tumor marker or biomarker. CA 125 is present in greater concentration in ovarian cancer cells than in other cells. CA stands for cancer antigen. Increases in CA 125 can also occur with malignant tumors of the Fallopian tubes, lining of the uterus, lung, breast, and gastrointestinal track. Benign conditions such as infections of the abdomen, chest, menstruation, endometriosis, benign tumors of the ovaries, and liver disease can also raise CA 125.
Can You Be Fully Cured of Ovarian Cancer?Around two in ten women with advanced-stage ovarian cancer are effectively cured and survive at least 12 years after the treatment as per the research. Your response to cancer therapy and chances for a cure depend on the type and the staging of ovarian cancer at the time of diagnosis.
How Long Does It Take to Recover From Laparoscopic Surgery?When done for the treatment of medical conditions, the recovery may vary depending on the type of treatment. After a major surgery, such as a laparoscopic hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), removal of the ovaries or removal of a kidney for the treatment of cancer, it may take up to 12 weeks to recover. The patient may be able to resume their activities within 3 weeks of a minor laparoscopic surgery, such as an appendix removal.
How Would I Know if I Have Ovarian Cancer?Ovarian cancer is cancer of the ovaries that produce eggs. Signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer may include abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge, abdominal pain, reduced appetite, bloating, pelvic pain, constipation and an increased urge to urinate.
Lynparza (olaparib)Lynparza is a prescription medicine used to treat adults who have advanced ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer, primary peritoneal cancer, a certain type of abnormal inherited BRCA gene, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative breast cancer, or metastatic pancreatic cancer with a certain type of abnormal inherited BRCA gene. The most common side effects of Lynparza are nausea or vomiting.
Ovarian CancerThere are many types of ovarian cancer, epithelial carcinoma is the most common. Women with a family history of ovarian cancer have an increased risk of developing the disease. Some ovarian cancer symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and abnormal vaginal bleeding, however, they usually do not present until the disease has progressed. Early diagnosis is important for successful treatment.
Ovarian Cancer SlidesOvarian cancer symptoms and signs include abdominal pain, bloating, frequent urination, and a feeling of fullness. Ovarian cancer treatment depends on the stage and may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and targeted therapy.
Ovarian Cancer QuizHow common is ovarian cancer and who is at risk? Take our Ovarian Cancer Quiz to learn the causes, symptoms, and treatment for this disease.
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled, sac-like structures within an ovary. Symptoms of an ovarian cysts may be:
- Pain in the belly or pelvis
- A feeling for the need to have a bowel movement
- Urgency to urinate
- Pain during intercourse.
There are a variety of causes and types of ovarian cysts, and treatment depends upon type of cyst.
Ovarian CystsWhat is an ovarian cyst? Ovarian cyst types vary, and they can cause many symptoms, including abdominal pain. Discover how to tell if you have a ruptured ovarian cyst.
Ovarian, Fallopian Tube, Primary Peritoneal Cancer Prevention
Some risk factors for cancer can be avoided, but many cannot. For example, both smoking and inheriting certain genes are risk factors for some types of cancer, but only smoking can be avoided. Regular exercise and a healthy diet may be protective factors for some types of cancer. Avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors may lower your risk but it does not mean that you will not get cancer.
Different ways to prevent cancer are being studied, including:
- Changing lifestyle or eating habits.
- Avoiding things known to cause cancer.
- Taking medicines to treat a precancerous condition or to keep cancer from starting.
What Are Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Symptoms?Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), also known by the name Stein-Leventhal syndrome, is a hormonal problem that causes women to have a variety of symptoms including irregular or no menstrual periods, acne, obesity, and excess hair growth. Treatment of PCOS depends partially on the woman's stage of life and the symptoms of PCOS.
Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POF, Premature Ovarian Failure, POI)Primary ovarian iInsufficiency (POF, Premature Ovarian Failure, POI) is the cessation of normal functioning of the ovaries in women under the age of 40. Premature ovarian failure may be caused by follicle depletion or dysfunction. The most common symptom of premature ovarian failure are irregular periods. There is no "treatment" that will restore the ovarian function, but there are treatments that my relieve symptoms.
Rubraca (rucaparib) for Ovarian CancerRubraca is a prescription medicine used for the maintenance treatment or treatment of adults with ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer, or primary peritoneal cancer. The most common side effects of Rubraca include nausea, tiredness or weakness, vomiting, decrease in hemoglobin (anemia), changes in how food tastes, constipation, decreased appetite, diarrhea, low blood cell counts, mouth sores, and others.
What Is Laparoscopy in Gynecology?Laparoscopy in gynecology (gynecological laparoscopy) is a less invasive alternative to open surgery. The procedure involves using a laparoscope (a long, thin tube with a light connected to a camera) to look inside the pelvic area to diagnose gynecological disorders or to perform surgery to treat gynecological conditions.
Zejula (niraparib)Zejula is a prescription medicine used for the maintenance treatment of adults with ovarian cancer and advanced ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer, or primary peritoneal cancer. The most common side effects of Zejula include heart not beating regularly, changes in liver function or other blood tests, nausea, pain in your joints, muscles, and back; constipation, headache, vomiting, dizziness, pain in the stomach area, change in the way food tastes, mouth sores, trouble sleeping, diarrhea, and others. anxiety