What Is Ovarian Cancer?

Ovarian cancer is cancer that begins in your ovaries. This type of cancer can only occur in women.

The ovary is made up of many layers of cells. Cancer can affect any one or all of these layers. The doctor may take some cells during a biopsy to reveal what type of ovarian cancer you have. The type of cancer partly determines your options for treatment.

Types of Ovarian Cancer

  • Epithelial ovarian cancer: Most common type of ovarian cancer
  • Primary peritoneal cancer: Rare cancer type starts outside the ovaries in the tissue that lines the abdomen and pelvis
  • Germ cell ovarian cancer: Cancer starts in the cells that form eggs in the ovary
  • Stromal cell cancer: Cancer forms in the tissue that holds the ovaries in place
  • Fallopian tube carcinoma: Rare cancer starts outside the ovary, but is treated as ovarian cancer. 

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

The following are the common symptoms of ovarian cancer:

  • Indigestion, heartburn, nausea, or gas
  • Abdominal (belly) swelling or discomfort
  • Pelvic pain or cramping
  • Bloating or a sense of fullness, even after eating small meals
  • Backache
  • Painful, frequent, or burning urination with no infection
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite or unintentional weight loss or gain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain during intercourse

Treatment for Ovarian Cancer 

The type of treatment you have depends on how far the cancer has spread and the type of ovarian cancer you have been diagnosed with. If the cancer is confined to the ovary or nearby areas it is called local or early-stage cancer. If the cancer has spread to distant areas in the body, it’s called metastatic or advanced ovarian cancer.

Your doctor may suggest a combination of treatments. Doctors most often treat ovarian cancer with surgery followed by chemotherapy. These treatments are listed from the most to least common.

For more information on ovarian cancer treatment or to schedule an appointment, contact Christian Hospital at 314.747.9355 or toll-free at 877.747.9355 or email us.