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Ovarian Cancer

  • What is Ovarian Cancer?

    Ovarian Cancer is an abnormal growth of tissue in the ovary. The ovaries are part of your reproductive system, where your eggs are produced. Most Ovarian Cancers develop on the surface of the ovary.

    There are three main types of Ovarian Cancer:

    • Epithelial Tumours develop on the surface (epithelium) of the ovary and are the most common type
    • Germ Cell Tumours occur in the cells that produce the eggs and can develop in younger women
    • Stromal Tumours develop in the oestrogen- and progesterone-producing tissues of the ovary – oestrogen and progesterone are the hormones that regulate your menstrual cycle
  • You may be at risk for Ovarian Cancer if you:

    • Had your first pregnancy at an older age or have never been pregnant
    • Had your menopause at a later age
    • Have a family member with ovarian cancer (particularly if they have the brca gene)
    • Have Endometriosis
    • Have had breast cancer
    • Started to menstruate at a young age
    • Used hormone replacement therapy for more than five years
    • Were overweight in your early adulthood
  • The symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

    • Abdominal swelling and discomfort (pressure, fullness, or bloating)
    • Changes in bowel habits, such as constipation
    • Loss of appetite or weight loss
    • Low back pain
    • Pain during sexual intercourse
    • Persistent indigestion, gas or nausea
    • Urgency to pass urine or frequent need to urinate
  • Treatment for ovarian cancer usually involves a combination of surgery and chemotherapy:

    • Chemotherapy to kill any remaining cancer cells after surgery
    • Surgery to remove the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus and the lymph nodes
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