What is ovarian cancer?
Ovarian cancer originates from the ovaries. Most of the time, it is not diagnosed until the cancerous cells have spread to the pelvis and abdomen, which makes it hard to treat and even fatal.
How do I know if I have ovarian cancer?
Ovarian cancer in its early stage rarely causes any symptoms. If it does cause symptoms, those are usually mistaken as signs of harmless conditions such as constipation. Common symptoms of ovarian cancer include:
- Swelling in the abdominal area
- Early satiety
- Weight loss
- Pelvic discomfort
- Problems with bowel movements
- Frequent urination
If you have any sign that makes you worry, go to a doctor, especially if you have a family history of ovarian cancer and breast cancer.
How to diagnose ovarian cancer?
You will need a physical exam in which your doctor examines your pelvic area. Your doctor may also require imagining tests, blood tests, and even a biopsy for an accurate diagnosis.
What are the treatment options for ovarian cancer?
Depending on the stage of your ovarian cancer at the time of diagnosis, your treatment options may vary.
There are 4 stages of ovarian cancer:
- Stage 1: Cancer is limited to the 2 ovaries.
- Stage 2: The cancerous cells have spread to other pelvic areas.
- Stage 3: The cancerous cells have spread to the abdominal areas.
- Stage 4: The cancerous cells have spread outside of the pelvic and abdominal areas.
Treatment options include surgery and chemotherapy.
- Surgery involves the removal of both ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the uterus, and any nearby area with cancerous cells. If you are diagnosed in the early stage of cancer, you may need to remove only the affected ovary and its fallopian tube. You will still be able to have children afterward.
- Chemotherapy is necessary after surgery to get rid of any remaining cancerous cells. Chemotherapy medication can be administered intravenously or directly into the abdominal cavity or both. Women with advanced ovarian cancer may need chemotherapy as the initial treatment.
Coping with ovarian cancer
Being diagnosed with ovarian cancer is probably one of the most devastating experiences in your life. It’s important for you to find someone you trust to talk it out. If you are not comfortable sharing with your family or friends, find a support group where you can meet and talk with people who understand what you are going through. Fighting cancer is exhausting. You need to let others help you with what they can. Besides, it’s helpful to keep your goals realistic so that you are not overwhelmed. Finally, try your best to stick to a healthy diet and get plenty of rest to manage the stress and fatigue the come with cancer treatment.
You may also interest in:
- Are Women Who Choose to Not Be Pregnant Exposed to Higher Risk of Ovarian Cancer?
- Cancer Symptoms Most People Ignore
- May Cervical Cancer Treatment Affect Your Ability to Be Pregnant?
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: April 21, 2017 | Last Modified: December 9, 2019
Ovarian cancer. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ovarian-cancer/basics/coping-support/con-20028096. Accessed April 18, 2017.
About Ovarian Cancer. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/ovarian-cancer/about.html. Accessed April 18, 2017.