Ovarian Cancer


What Is Ovarian Cancer? This cancer begins in the ovaries, the twin organs that produce a woman’s eggs and the main source of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. Treatments for ovarian cancer have become more effective in recent years, with the best results seen when the disease is found early Ovarian Cancer Symptoms   Symptoms include: 1. Bloating or pressure in the belly. 2. Pain in the abdomen or pelvis. 3. Feeling full too quickly during meals. 4. Urinating more frequently. These symptoms can be caused by many conditions that are not cancer. If they occur daily for more than a few weeks, report them to your health care professional.   Ovarian Cancer Screening Tests There are two ways to screen for ovarian cancer before it causes symptoms or shows up during a routine gynecologic exam. One is a blood test for elevated levels of a protein called CA-125. The other is an ultrasound of the ovaries. Unfortunately, neither technique has been shown to save lives when used in women of average risk. For this reason, screening is only recommended for women with strong risk factors.   Stages of Ovarian Cancer The initial surgery for ovarian cancer also helps determine how far the cancer has spread, described by the following stages: Stage I: Confined to one or both ovaries. Stage II: Spread to the uterus or other nearby organs. Stage III: Spread to the lymph nodes or abdominal lining. Stage IV: Spread to distant organs, such as the lungs or liver.   Types of Ovarian Cancer The vast majority of ovarian cancers are epithelial ovarian carcinomas. These are malignant tumors that form from cells on the surface of the ovary. Some epithelial tumors are not clearly cancerous. These are known as tumors of low malignant potential (LMP.) LMP tumors grow more slowly and are less dangerous than other forms of ovarian cancer.