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Quick Facts

Ovarian Cancer

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Aug 2021| Content last modified Aug 2021
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What is ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer is cancer in a woman’s ovaries. Ovaries are the two sex glands that hold a woman's eggs.

  • Ovarian cancer usually happens in women between the ages of 50 and 70

  • Ovarian cancer is hard to find early because it often doesn't cause symptoms at first

  • To treat ovarian cancer, doctors usually remove both ovaries, both fallopian tubes, and the uterus

Internal Female Genital Organs

Locating the Female Reproductive Organs

What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer?

The first symptom may be discomfort in your lower belly area as an ovary gets bigger.

Other early symptoms may include:

  • Bloating

  • Not feeling hungry

  • Gas pains

  • Backache

Later symptoms may include:

  • Swollen belly

  • Pain in your lower belly

  • Weight loss

How can doctors tell if I have ovarian cancer?

How do doctors treat ovarian cancer?

Doctors treat ovarian cancer with surgery, usually removing the:

  • Ovaries

  • Fallopian tubes

  • Uterus

Depending on where the cancer has spread, doctors may use chemotherapy instead of or before surgery.

Unless it's caught early, ovarian cancer often comes back after treatment. Doctors use chemotherapy to treat ovarian cancer that comes back.

How can I prevent ovarian cancer?

Some women have genes that increase the risk of ovarian cancer. These genes are called BRCA1 and BRCA2. They also increase the risk of breast cancer Breast Cancer Cancer is when cells grow abnormally. Cancer cells don't look or work like normal cells and keep multiplying out of control. Cancer cells can invade and destroy nearby healthy tissue. Sometimes... read more . If you have family members who've had breast or ovarian cancer, you should talk to your doctor about gene testing. If you have one of these genes, having your ovaries removed may help prevent cancer.

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OTHER TOPICS IN THIS CHAPTER

Cancers of the Female Reproductive System
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