Ovarian Cancer Support and Information
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Basic Ovarian Cancer Facts
For more specific information about ovarian cancer, including types, diagnosis, and treatments, see See "Information About Ovarian Cancer"
Types of Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer is the growth of abnormal malignant cells that begins in the ovaries (women’s reproductive glands that produce eggs) or in the fallopian tubes. There are three types of ovarian cancer: epithelial ovarian cancer, germ cell cancer and stromal cell cancer. The most common type is epithelial ovarian cancer.
Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer
A few factors affect a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer:
Ovarian Cancer Signs and Symptoms
The most common symptoms of ovarian cancer are:
Ovarian Cancer Screening and Diagnosis
There are no tests that can screen for ovarian cancer. PAP smears, mammograms or colonoscopies cannot detect ovarian cancer.
If you experience and report symptoms, your doctor will perform a pelvic/rectal exam to feel any abnormalities on the ovaries or surrounding area. They may later perform a transvaginal or pelvic ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, and/or a CA-125 blood test.
CA-125 is high in approximately 80 percent of women with advanced stage epithelial ovarian cancer. For more information on the CA-125 blood test, click here.
However, surgery is the only way to confirm a diagnosis of ovarian cancer.
Ovarian Cancer Treatments
Ovarian Cancer Survival
When caught early, ovarian cancer can be effectively treated and the less likely the cancer is to return. However, because most women are diagnosed in later stages, recurrence is more likely, but it is hard to predict who will recur.
The Foundation for Women’s Cancer estimates that about 15% of women will survive more than 10 years after being diagnosed with an advanced-stage ovarian cancer. These women may or may not develop recurrence.
The five-year survival rate for a patient whose surgeon was a gynecologic oncologist is significantly increased.