Ovarian Cancer

The goal of SHARE's ovarian cancer program is to provide the information you need be an active and informed partner in your ovarian cancer care, and the support you need to sustain your emotional and psychological wellbeing throughout your diagnosis and treatment. Below, you can access all of our free ovarian cancer support and education offerings, from stories of survivors and peers to our clinical trial assistance program. Ovarian cancer awareness month comes just once a year, but SHARE is here for you all day, every day, until we're no longer needed.

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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.

READ MORE about types of ovarian cancer

Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer

A few factors affect a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer:

  • Age
  • Childbirth: Not giving birth to a child raises a woman’s risk.
  • Family history
  • Genes: A mutation in the genes BRCA1 or BRCA2 are responsible for about 10 to 15 percent of all ovarian cancers. If you’ve already been diagnosed with high grade-epithelial ovarian cancer, you should receive genetic testing to determine if you carry mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, since this may open up more treatment options to you. Click here to learn more about genetic testing.
  • Use of post-menopausal hormone therapy (HRT)
  • READ MORE about risk for ovarian cancer

    Ovarian Cancer Signs and Symptoms

    The most common symptoms of ovarian cancer are:

  • Bloating
  • Pain in the lower belly
  • Feeling full quickly or having trouble eating
  • Having to pee more often or more urgently
  • READ MORE about other signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer

    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.

    READ MORE about ovarian cancer diagnosis here.

    Ovarian Cancer Treatments

    READ MORE about ovarian cancer treatments and chemotherapy.

    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.

    From this page, you can navigate to all of our resources for women with ovarian or gynecologic cancer. Find information about ovarian cancer staging, how ovarian cancer is detected, chemotherapy for ovarian cancer, and ovarian cancer prognosis. You can also find videos about the latest ovarian cancer treatments, read stories from survivors of clear cell carcinoma, stage I ovarian cancer, or other types of ovarian cancer. Or take advantage of SHARE’s free ovarian cancer support groups online or in-person. If you just need someone to talk to, call our ovarian cancer helpline: 212-719-1204.

    National Helpline: