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Women's Health Topics..

You are here : home > Women's Health > Ovarian Cancer > What is Ovarian Cancer

What is Ovarian Cancer

What is Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is a dreadful disease. Survival rate of women with this cancer is low. Its detection is only possible at an advanced stage. Know more about ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is common in menopausal women or women who are above the age of 50. However, in some cases even younger women too can get affected with this disorder. Let us take a look at the common concerns related to ovarian cancer in women.

What is ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer, as the name suggests, is a cancer of the ovaries, where abnormal cell growth results in malignant cysts or tumours.  In all cases, therefore, the first sign of ovarian cancer is an enlargement of the ovary.  About 5% of all cancers that develop in women are cancers of the ovaries.  It occurs in one out of every 70 women and is less common than breast cancer (which occurs in one out of every 9 women).

If I have an ovarian cyst, do I have cancer?

No.  In fact, only 5% of ovarian cysts (detected through a pelvic exam) are found to be malignant or cancerous.  In order for a doctor to confirm ovarian cancer, a biopsy of the ovarian cyst would be required.

Is ovarian cancer life threatening?

Although, fewer women are affected by ovarian cancer than breast cancer, the survival rate of women with ovarian cancer is very low.  Less than 35% of the women affected with this disease survive.  This is because the growth is silent and slow, and the disease is difficult to detect.  Symptoms like distension and loss of appetite are evident only in the advanced stages.

What can increase the risk of ovarian cancer?

The exact causes of ovarian cancer are not yet determined. But women from certain sets are at higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. Here are the factors that can make women susceptible to ovarian cancer.
  • Age above 50 years
  • Obesity
  • Endometriosis – abnormal growth of the tissues lining the uterus outside it.
  • Previous family history of breast of ovarian cancer
In very rare cases women who have undergone HRT (hormone replacement therapy) are likely to be at risk of developing ovarian cancer.

What the common symptoms of ovarian cancer?

There are no such symptoms of ovarian cancer are prominent during its early stage of its development. In most cases the symptoms can be observed only during the advanced stages. Here is the list of the symptoms of ovarian cancer that are usually ignored during the early stages as they are mistaken for the symptoms of common illnesses.
  • Poor appetite
  • Feeling of fullness
  • Nausea
  • Flatulence
  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Fatigue
  • Indigestion and heartburn
  • Painful intercourse
  • Pain in abdomen
  • Urge to urinate frequently
  • Problems with menstrual cycle
  • Sudden weight gain or weight loss
  • Infertility

The above mentioned symptoms can be treated with the help of common medical treatments. However, if these symptoms keep coming back, it can be the cause of concern. In this case, it is necessary to consult a doctor. These symptoms will gradually start worsening when tumour starts spreading.

How to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer?

Some researchers have found that the risk of ovarian cancer is low in women who take oral contraceptive pills for 5 or more than five years. Having children and breastfeeding can also subsequently reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. Women who do not want to have children and who are at risk can opt for surgical methods for preventing of ovarian cancer. The surgical treatments done for the removal of ovaries (oophorectomy), tying the fallopian tubes (tubal ligation) and removal of uterus (hysterectomy) can reduce the risk.

If the ovarian cancer is diagnosed during its early stages the chances of survival are higher. But unfortunately, most of the cases are diagnosed during the advanced stages itself. If you think you are risk, you must talk to your doctor so that he can suggest appropriate measures.

You may also be interested in:

Causes of Ovarian Cancer
What is Ovarian Cancer
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Sakshi.10 years ago
i think its very important for every women to regularly go for check ups and avoid such diseases in its early stages itself.
jay.10 years ago
i did everything-reg ckups,good diet,no history,butihave stage4 in remission.have a ca-125 blood test.this is the only true way to detect ovarian cancer.
Das.10 years ago
does one loose weight? i have gained a lot put have a clear pap and clear ultrasound but have severe distension , am worried!!!!!!!!
SABABD.10 years ago
to detect cancer it is neccessary to do pap-smear check up every year without forgetting.
in early years doctors never suggested all these test coz of which i lost my mother.
i would like everyone to know that never miss ur pap smear test a year.
chits.10 years ago
prognosis of ovarian cancer
Kuldip Mishra
Kuldip Mishra.10 years ago
how many pap smears are being done?
Kuldip Mishra
Kuldip Mishra.10 years ago
why gynaecologists still uses cotton swabs as cell sampling tool? which often gives false negative reports.
Poly Cystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD)
i suffer from poly cystic ovarian disease (pcod)and not if my cysts are benign or malignant. i am not on any medications and my periods though regular have been ongoing for more than 2 weeks now. i consulted with my doctor who told me that i was probably undergoing stress and she did a couple of tests but nothing unusual was noticed and she told me it was probably vaginal bleeding due to stress. after two months now the bleeding has returned only to be occuring for more than 3 weeks and they are unable to find the cause. i am very concerned about my health. is there any solution. i have taken so many tests that i have no count of them including the pregnancy test and all have been negative for any evidence of disorders.

if any of the doctors on the panel can answer my query i will be deeply greatful.


Chitra.10 years ago
is the biopsy that is mentioned for determining if the cysts are malignant very painful. how is it performed?
Mrs.S.Gupta.10 years ago
i am under treatment for ovarian cyst for the last seven months by a homeopathic consultant. my period is regular and continues for 1 week with excess bleeding. is the above desease curable if i continue with homeo-medicines for long. please advice. is any ultrasound test is necessary now to know the status of grwoth of cyst and when please also advice.
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