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Ovarian Cancer

What is ovarian cancer?

The ovaries, one on each side of a woman’s uterus, produce eggs (ova) for reproduction. Ovaries primarily consist of three types of cells, each of which can develop into a different type of tumor. In most cases, these tumors are benign and do not grow beyond the ovary; malignant tumors may metastasize throughout the body. The three types of cells and tumors they might produce are:

  • Epithelial cell tumors: most common type (~90%) of ovarian tumor; begins on the outer surface of the ovary.
  • Germ cell tumors: begin in the cells that produce the eggs (~7%).
  • Stromal tumors: begin in the cells that produce the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. More likely to occur in younger women than older women.

The American Cancer Society estimates there will be 22,280 new diagnoses of ovarian cancer in the U.S. in 2016. This type of cancer is more likely to develop in older women, specifically women age 63 and older. White females tend to be at a greater risk than African-American females. While ovarian cancer is one of the more challenging cancers of the female reproductive system, rates of diagnosis have been steadily declining over the last two decades.

What are the risk factors for ovarian cancer?

Risk factors for ovarian cancer include:

  • Being older
  • Having never been pregnant (nulliparity)
  • Having a personal history of breast cancer or endometrial cancer
  • Having a family history of ovarian cancer in a first- or second-degree relative
  • Having BRCA1 or BRCA2 inherited genes
  • Having undergone hormone replacement therapy
  • Smoking
  • Undergoing fertility treatment
  • Using an intrauterine device (IUD)
  • Early menstruation and/or late menopause
  • Being Caucasian (compared to being African-American)

Are there symptoms of ovarian cancer?

Unfortunately, ovarian cancer does not present early warning signs in the majority of cases. Approximately 70% of women have advanced ovarian cancer at the time of diagnosis. Later on in the development of ovarian cancer, the following signs and symptoms may appear:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal masses
  • Bloating in the abdomen (possibly caused by accumulation of fluid)
  • Clothes feeling tighter (with or without weight gain)
  • Constipation and/or flatulence
  • Edema
  • Feeling full after a small meal
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss

How do you screen for and detect ovarian cancer?

At Jordan Valley Cancer Center, health care professionals may use the following tests to diagnose ovarian cancer:

The Stages of Ovarian Cancer

Oncologists at Jordan Valley Cancer Center use the following stages to describe the progression of ovarian cancer: 

  • Stage I: Cancer in one or both ovaries
  • Stage II: Cancer has spread to other areas of the pelvis
  • Stage III: Cancer has spread to other areas of the abdomen
  • Stage IV: Cancer has metastasized to areas beyond the abdomen

How do you treat ovarian cancer?

Jordan Valley Cancer Center brings together oncologists and cancer specialists from a variety of backgrounds so that patients have access to all the options. Specialists from Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology and Surgical Oncology partner together to create innovative solutions that fit each patient’s unique circumstances. As a patient of Jordan Valley Cancer Center, you will be paired with a Nurse Navigator who can help you understand your options and make informed decisions about how to pursue ovarian cancer treatment. Select a procedure to learn more about how it works:

The Patient Experience at Jordan Valley Cancer Center

Our team at Jordan Valley Cancer Center is here to support you every step of the way in your fight against cancer. For more information about our integrative approach to cancer treatment, please contact us at 801-601-2260. Jordan Valley Cancer Center makes it possible for patients in West Jordan, UT, to get ovarian cancer care in their own neighborhood.