Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the ovaries. Women have two ovaries, one on each side of the uterus. They produce female sex hormones and store and release eggs (ova).
Treatments for ovarian cancer are more successful when the cancer is found early. But most of the time, cancer has already spread by the time it is found.
Symptoms of Ovarian cancer
Early-stage ovarian cancer rarely causes any symptoms. Advanced-stage ovarian cancer may cause few and nonspecific symptoms that are often mistaken for more common benign conditions, such as constipation or irritable bowel. Signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer In some cases, ovarian cancer may cause early symptoms. The most common symptoms of ovarian cancer include –
• Abdominal bloating or swelling
• Quickly feeling full when eating
• Weight loss
• Discomfort in the pelvis area
• Changes in bowel habits, such as constipation
• A frequent need to urinate
These symptoms are common for some women. They may not mean that you have ovarian cancer. But the early symptoms of ovarian cancer follow a pattern-
• They start suddenly.
• They feel different than your normal digestive or menstrual problems.
• They happen almost every day and don’t go away.
Types of ovarian cancer
The type of cell where the cancer begins determines the type of ovarian cancer you have. Ovarian cancer types include:
• Epithelial tumors, which begin in the thin layer of tissue that covers the outside of the ovaries. About 90 percent of ovarian cancers are epithelial tumors.
• Stromal tumors, which begin in the ovarian tissue that contains hormone-producing cells. These tumors are usually diagnosed at an earlier stage than other ovarian tumors. About 7 percent of ovarian tumors are stromal.
• Germ cell tumors, which begin in the egg-producing cells. These rare ovarian cancers tend to occur in younger women.
Types of treatment
Treatment of ovarian cancer usually involves a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. The choice of treatment and the long-term outcome (prognosis) for women who have ovarian cancer depends on the type and stage ofcancer.
The main treatment choices are:
• Surgery to find out if you have cancer and to treat it. This may include taking biopsies to check for the spread of cancer.
• Chemotherapy, which uses medicines to kill cancer cells. It is recommended after surgery for most stages of ovarian cancer.