Ovarian cancer (cancer in the ovaries)

By Cicle Health on 30 Nov, 2022
Ovarian cancer (cancer in the ovaries)

All information related to ovarian cancer and its treatment

If you experience abdominal swelling, discomfort in the pelvic area, a frequent need to urinate, contact a doctor immediately. Book an appointment by clicking here to consult our doctor from the comfort of your home.

What is ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer is the abnormal growth of cells made in the ovary. The cells multiply rapidly, attacks and destroys healthy tissue in the body. The female reproductive system consists of two ovaries, on either side of the uterus. The ovaries are almond-shaped and make the hormones estrogen and progesterone along with the egg (ova). Ovarian cancer treatment usually involves surgery and chemotherapy.

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Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

When ovarian cancer first occur, it may not cause any noticeable symptoms. When symptoms of ovarian cancer appear, they are usually attributed to another condition.

The following are the symptoms of ovarian cancer:

  • Feeling swollen or bloated in the abdomen.
  • Feeling full quickly while eating food.
  • Weight loss.
  • Feeling discomfort in the pelvic area.
  • Fatigue.
  • Back pain.
  • Change in bowel habits, such as constipation.
  • Feeling the need to urinate frequently.

Reasons for ovarian cancer

It's not clear what causes ovarian cancer, although doctors have identified things that can increase the risk of the disease. Doctors know that ovarian cancer begins when cells in or around the ovaries make changes (mutations) to their DNA. A cell's DNA contains instructions that tell the cell what to do. Cancer makes the cells grow and multiply rapidly, forming a mass (tumour) of cancer cells. Cancer cells survive when healthy cells die. They can invade surrounding tissue and break away from an initial tumor to spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.

Types of ovarian cancer

The type of cell where the cancer starts determines the type of ovarian cancer you have and helps the doctor decide which treatment is best for you. Types of ovarian cancer include:

Epithelial Ovarian Cancer:-

This type is the most common. It includes several subtypes, including serous carcinoma and mucinous carcinoma.

Stromal tumor: -

These rare tumors are usually diagnosed at an earlier stage than other ovarian cancers.

Germ cell tumor: -

These rare ovarian cancers tend to occur at a young age.

Risk factors

Factors that increase the risk of ovarian cancer include:

Older age: -

The risk of ovarian cancer increases as you age. It mostly occurs in older women.

Hereditary gene change: -

A small percentage of ovarian cancer is caused by gene changes inherited from parents. Genes that increase the risk of ovarian cancer include BRCA1 and BRCA2. These genes also increase the risk of breast cancer. Several other gene changes are known to increase the risk of ovarian cancer, including gene changes associated with Lynch syndrome and the genes BRIP1, RAD51C, and RAD51D.

Family history of ovarian cancer: -

If someone in the blood relative has had ovarian cancer, then you may have an increased risk of this disease.

Being overweight or obese: -

Being overweight or obese increases the risk of ovarian cancer.

Postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy:-

Taking hormone replacement therapy to control the signs and symptoms of menopause may increase your risk of ovarian cancer.


Endometriosis is often a painful disorder in which tissue similar to tissue lines the inside of the uterus, and grows outside the uterus.

Age of start and end of periods:-

Early onset of menstruation or later onset of menopause, or both, may increase the risk of ovarian cancer.

If you have never been pregnant:-

If you have never been pregnant then the risk of ovarian cancer may increase.

Ovarian cancer screening

The doctor may also perform the following tests:

Transvaginal ultrasound (TVUS):-

Transvaginal ultrasound is a type of imaging test that uses sound waves to detect tumors in reproductive organs, including the ovaries. However transvaginal ultrasound cannot help the doctor to decide whether the tumor is cancerous or not.

Abdominal and pelvic CT scan:-

If allergic to dye If so, the doctor may order a pelvic MRI scan.

Blood test to measure the level of cancer antigen 125 (CA-125):-

The CA-125 test is a biomarker used to assess treatment response for ovarian cancer and other reproductive organ cancers. However, menstruation, uterine fibroids, and uterine cancer can also affect the level of CA-125 in the blood.


In a biopsy, a small sample of tissue is removed from the ovary and analyzed under a microscope.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan:-

This test involves using a special dye containing a radioactive tracer that can either be swallowed or injected. The organs and tissues then absorb the tracer, so doctors can see how well those organs are working.

Ovarian cancer prevention

There is no sure way to prevent ovarian cancer but there may be ways to reduce the risk:

Consider taking birth control pills:

Ask your doctor whether birth control pills (oral contraceptives) might be right for you. Taking birth control pills reduces the risk of ovarian cancer. But these drugs have risks, so discuss this topic with your doctor.

Discuss your risk factors with your doctor:-

If someone in your family has had breast and ovarian cancer, talk to your doctor about it. The doctor can decide what this might mean for cancer risk. Your doctor may then refer you to a genetic counselor who can help you decide whether genetic testing may be right for you. If you are found to have a gene change that increases your risk of ovarian cancer, consider surgery to remove the ovaries to prevent cancer.

Effect of ovarian cancer on pregnancy and periods

In most cases, ovarian cancer will not have any effect on the growing baby. Concern occurs when the cancer is threatening the life of the mother and blocking normal development or blood flow to the fetus, or if the cancer is causing abnormal levels of hormones in the body. However, it is possible that ovarian cancer can cause changes in periods, such as heavy bleeding or irregular bleeding.

When to go to the doctor

If you see any kind of symptoms, book an appointment with the doctor.

Ovarian cancer treatment

Ovarian cancer treatment usually involves a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. In some conditions, other treatments may be used.


The following types of operations can be done to remove ovarian cancer:

Surgery to remove one ovary:-

For early-stage cancer that hasn't spread beyond one ovary, surgery may involve removing the affected ovary and its fallopian tubes. This process can preserve the ability to have children.

Surgery to remove both ovaries: -

If cancer is present in both ovaries, but there is no sign of additional cancer, the surgeon may remove both ovaries and both fallopian tubes. This procedure preserves the uterus, so you may still be able to get pregnant using your own frozen embryos or eggs, or with a donor egg.

Surgery to remove both ovaries and uterus: -

If the cancer is more widespread or if you do not want to preserve your ability to have children, the surgeon will remove the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, nearby lymph nodes and fatty abdominal tissue (omentum).

Surgery for advanced cancer:-

If the cancer is advanced, the doctor may recommend surgery to remove as much of the cancer as possible. Sometimes chemotherapy is given before or after surgery in this situation.


Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that uses chemicals to kill fast-growing cells in the body, including cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs can be injected into a vein or taken by mouth. Chemotherapy is often used after surgery to kill any cancer cells that remain. It can also be used before surgery.

In some conditions, chemotherapy drugs can be heated and injected into the abdomen during surgery (hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy). The drugs are left in place for a certain amount of time before being drained. Then the operation is completed.

Targeted therapy

Targeted drug therapies focus on specific vulnerabilities present inside cancer cells. By attacking these vulnerabilities, targeted drug therapies can cause cancer cells to die. If considering targeted therapy for ovarian cancer, the doctor can test the cancer cells to determine which targeted therapy is most likely to have an effect on the cancer. more likely.


In ovarian cancer, the body becomes weak, some things have to be avoided during chemotherapy and surgery procedures, in such a situation, a dietician can help, so that by taking the right diet, full energy can be given back to the body. If you are confused then consult a doctor. It is necessary to get complete treatment from the doctor. Diet plays a big role in hormonal changes. If you want, contact our dietician for information related to diet.

Best Treatment for you

The best treatment for ovarian cancer depends on the stage and condition of the cancer. If any symptoms appear, see the doctor immediately and get the test done. Getting a timely checkup can make treatment a little easier, choose the treatment option according to your preference and the stage of cancer.

Why choose Cicle?

Cicle is a health friendly application where you can anonymously chat with our health service providers and get your questions answered. Joining Cicle will save you both time and money. Normally you have to travel to consult a doctor, there is a separate cost for this, but by downloading Cicle, you can discuss your health by taking an appointment with the doctor according to your convenience at home.Click here to book an appointment.

Frequently asked Questions

Can I have children after being screened for ovarian cancer?

If ovarian cancer is diagnosed, fertility preservation programs will evaluate options for having a family in the future. This may include egg preservation, in-vitro fertilization, and other advanced reproductive techniques.

Can You Feel a Lump With Ovarian Cancer?

You will not be able to detect ovarian mass by yourself. During a screening, the doctor may perform an internal pelvic exam, in which he or she will insert a finger into the vagina and gently press on your abdomen to feel for abnormalities.

How can I manage the side effects associated with treatment?

Hormone replacement therapy can help restore estrogen levels after the ovaries have been removed. Other treatments that may help relieve side effects include dietary changes and treatments such as diet aid, pain management.

Ovarian cancer research

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in women, accounting for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. A woman's lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer is 1 in 78. Her lifetime chance of dying from ovarian cancer is about 1 in 108. Don't be careless looking at the figures. If you are pregnant then talk to gynecologist for better care of you and baby, he will guide you for better pregnancy. If there is any kind of problem, it can be identified and treated at the initial stage itself. If you have confusion about this, then our doctors can help you. If you want, you can also discuss with our expert doctor through video conferencing.Click here to book an appointment.

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