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What is Ovarian Cancer?

Cancer in the tissues of the egg (ovum) producing organ (ovary) in a woman is called ovarian cancer. Ovarian tumours can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). It is one of the most dangerous gynaecological cancers and is commonly seen in older females.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

Due to the slow development of ovarian cancer, it is often difficult to detect in the early stages. Some of the common signs and symptoms are :

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) mimics the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer.

What are the main causes?

The exact cause of most ovarian cancer is not clearly understood. Some of the common risk factors are :

  • Inherited genetic mutations (for example, BRCA1/2, HNPCC).
  • Women without children.
  • Stress.
  • Side effects of infertility treatment drugs.
  • A family history of ovarian or breast cancer.
  • Other possible risk factors include smoking, Western diet, obesity, using deodorants, talcum powder, environmental pollution, poverty and poor diet in childhood.

How is it diagnosed and treated?

For the diagnosis of ovarian cancer, doctors use various methods such as:

  • Ultrasound of abdomen and pelvis
    In the case of diseases of the ovaries, ultrasound is mostly preferred as the first test.
  • CT scan
    It is used to detect larger tumours but is unable to detect the smaller ones.
  • MRI scan
    It helps in locating the spread of cancer to the brain or spinal cord.
  • Blood tests
    CA-125 test is done to determine the level of CA-125 which is produced by the cancerous cells in the ovary.

After the cancer is diagnosed, it is treated by –

  • Chemotherapy.
  • Surgery.
  • Radiation therapy.

There are also some complementary therapies like acupuncture, herbal medicine, meditation and yoga that may be used along with conventional treatment.

  1. Medicines for Ovarian Cancer
  2. Doctors for Ovarian Cancer
Dr. Ashok Vaid

Dr. Ashok Vaid

Oncology
31 Years of Experience

Dr. Susovan Banerjee

Dr. Susovan Banerjee

Oncology
16 Years of Experience

Dr. Rajeev Agarwal

Dr. Rajeev Agarwal

Oncology
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Dr. Nitin Sood

Dr. Nitin Sood

Oncology
23 Years of Experience

References

  1. Office on Women's Health [Internet] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Ovarian cancer.
  2. National Cancer Institute [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Ovarian, Fallopian Tube, and Primary Peritoneal Cancer—Patient Version
  3. National Cancer Institute [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms
  4. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Ovarian Cancer
  5. Center for Disease Control and Prevention [internet], Atlanta (GA): US Department of Health and Human Services; Ovarian Cancer
  6. Doubeni CA et al. Diagnosis and Management of Ovarian Cancer. Am Fam Physician. 2016 Jun 1;93(11):937-44. PMID: 27281838
  7. Committee on the State of the Science in Ovarian Cancer Research; Board on Health Care Services; Institute of Medicine; National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Ovarian Cancers: Evolving Paradigms in Research and Care. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2016 Apr 25. 2, The Bi

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