What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

Ovaries are reproductive glands found only in females. They produce eggs for reproduction. Just like in any other cancer, the cells in the ovaries begin to grow out of control and starts spreading. The recent study shows that ovarian cancer may actually start in the cells in the far end of the fallopian tubes. The ovaries are made up of three kinds of cells and each type of cell can develop into a different tumor as given below:

  • Epithelial tumors start from the cells that cover the outer surface of the ovary and most the ovarian cancer is of this type only.
  • Germ cell tumors start from the cells that produce the eggs (ova).
  • Stromal tumors start from structural tissue cells that hold the ovary together and produce the female hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Some of the above tumors are benign and do not spread beyond the ovary. Malignant or borderline ovarian tumors spread to other parts of the body and can be fatal.

Early signs of ovarian cancer

Just like any other cancer, ovarian cancer also does not show any symptoms at early stages. Most of these symptoms become obvious during the later stages of the condition as the growth of ovarian cancer puts pressure on the bladder, uterus, and rectum. Let’s see some of the symptoms here:

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain or cramping
  • Lack of appetite or feeling full quickly after starting to eat
  • Indigestion or upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • The need to urinate more frequently or urgently than normal
  • The pressure in the lower back or pelvis
  • Unexplained exhaustion
  • Back pain
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal swelling or abdominal girth
  • Painful sex
  • Menstrual changes
  • Weight loss

These symptoms might be due to a variety of other conditions which will be cured in the basic treatment. But if it develops suddenly and persists, does not go away after taking the basic treatment then it is ideal to go to Cancer specialist in Delhi for further diagnosis.

Risk factors

The following are the risk factors that are the causes of the development of ovarian cancer:

  • The family history of breast, ovarian or uterine cancer
  • Having the BRCA1 and BRCA2
  • Having Lynch syndrome
  • Never being pregnant
  • Obesity
  • Some fertility and hormone medications
  • Endometriosis
  • Age, most cases develop after menopause

People with a family history of reproductive or gastrointestinal cancers should talk to the doctor or a gynecologist and should undergo genetic counseling to see whether they carry any genetic mutations which increases the chances of ovarian cancer.

Certain instances such as being pregnant, breastfeeding, using oral birth control medications for at least 5 years and having reproductive system surgeries such as a hysterectomy, ovarian removal or tubal ligation.

Your Ovarian Cancer Treatment will be based on the type of ovarian cancer you have and also its stage. You will be treated accordingly by the gynecologic oncologist who is specially trained to use surgery for treating ovarian cancer and also might give chemotherapy and other medicines for ovarian cancer or a radiation oncologist who uses radiation or a medical oncologist who uses chemotherapy and medicines. Some of the treatment includes Surgery, Radiation Therapy, Chemotherapy, Hormone Therapy, and Targeted Therapy. When you contact your doctor, he will advise you on the right course of treatment.

Additional Read: An Informative Guide to the Stages and Types of Ovarian Cancer


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