Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian Cancer


Cancer of the ovaries is called ovarian cancer. Ovaries are present on either side of the uterus. They are responsible for the production of eggs and the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Cancer starting in the ovaries might spread to other parts of the uterus.

Signs and Symptoms

Early detection is crucial to contain the spread. Signs include:

  • Stomach feeling bloated
  • Hunger satisfied after eating less
  • Constipation
  • Loss of weight
  • Pelvic discomfort
  • Need to pass urine frequently

Causes and Risk Factors

The exact cause is not known but the following groups have a higher risk:

  • Women in the age group of 50-60
  • Genes BRCA 1 & 2 increase the risk of ovarian as well as breast cancer
  • History of ovarian cancer in the family
  • Starting menstrual cycle early and late menopause
  • Estrogen therapy given in high doses for long durations


  • A pelvic examination to check the vagina and cervix
  • An ultrasound or CT scan
  • Blood test for tumour markers


  • If the cancer is limited to one ovary, surgical removal of that ovary and fallopian tube will be done.
  • If the cancer has spread to other organs, removal of the uterus and associated organs will be needed. In such a case, it will not be possible to have children in the future.
  • If cancer has spread over the body, surgery might be followed by chemotherapy to control it.


  • Birth control pills might help. They have side effects, so a thorough discussion with the doctor is necessary.
  • A family history of ovarian cancer may need genetic testing. If risk is very high, ovaries could be removed as a preventive measure.

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