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Ovarian Cancer

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Ovarian cancer is the ninth most common cancer in women. Because of the tendency to be diagnosed in the later stages, ovarian cancer is the fifth most deadly.

What is ovarian cancer?

The ovaries are two small, almond-shaped organs located on each side of the uterus that produce female hormones and store eggs. Ovarian cancer is a form of gynecologic cancer, or any cancer that starts in a woman’s reproductive organs. Other types of gynecologic cancer include cervical, uterine, vaginal and vulvar cancers.

Who develops ovarian cancer?

The risk for ovarian cancer increases if you are over age 50, are obese, have never given birth or have a personal or family history of breast or colon cancer. Your risk rises if you have a close blood relative (mother, sister, daughter) who had ovarian cancer. Two or more close blood relatives with the disease increase your risk even more, as does a family history of cancer caused by a mutation of the breast cancer gene BRCA1 or BRCA2.

What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer?

Women with ovarian cancer don’t always have symptoms or their symptoms may be mild. They may experience pain or swelling in the lower abdomen, appetite loss, indigestion, nausea or weight loss. When associated with ovarian cancer, these symptoms are chronic and worsen over time.

How is ovarian cancer diagnosed?

If you have ovarian cancer symptoms and a pelvic exam reveals an enlarged ovary and signs of fluid in the abdomen, your physician may order blood tests and perform imaging tests like computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans or an ultrasound.

How is ovarian cancer treated?

Treatment options will depend on the cancer’s stage, whether you plan to have children and your individual health and may include a combination of surgery and chemotherapy.

Valley offers comprehensive ovarian cancer treatment through its gynecologic oncology program. For more information, call 201-634-5401.

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