Ovarian Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, Stages & Treatment

Different types of cancers that occur in the cells of the ovaries are called ovarian cancer. Ovaries are reproductive organs that are found in pairs on either side of the uterus. Ovarian cancer occurs when there is an unnatural growth of abnormal cells in one or both ovaries. Most common ovarian cancers occur from the epithelium (or the lining cells) of the ovary.

There are three main types of ovarian cancer: epithelial ovarian cancer, germ cell ovarian cancer from egg cells) and stromal ovarian cancer. Of these, epithelial ovarian cancer is the most common

Causes of Ovarian Cancer in India

The exact cause of ovarian cancer is not known. However, the following risk factors are linked to higher chances of developing this disease.

  • Family History – women with relatives who have ovarian or breast cancer (also colon and prostate cancer) have a higher chance of contracting this disease.
  • Age – this cancer is usually higher in women above 65 years of age.
  • Women who are infertile and those who have a condition called endometriosis may also have increased risk of ovarian cancer.
  • Women who have had children are less likely to get ovarian cancer than women who have not had children.
  • Women’s menstrual cycle may also affect the risk of getting ovarian cancer. More ovulations increase the chances of ovarian cancer.
  • Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) may also be at a higher risk of getting ovarian cancer.

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

While the exact causes of ovarian cancer are not known, there are many symptoms that are related to it. Many women who do not have ovarian cancer may also show these symptoms. However, if these persist for more than 2-3 weeks on a regular basis, a doctor must be consulted. Symptoms of ovarian cancer may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Feeling full quickly after eating
  • Abdominal swelling or bloating 
  • Pain in the abdomen and/or pelvic region
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Urinating more frequently than usual, or urgency is urinating
  • Swelling in the leg
  • Changes in bowel movements
  • Shortness of breath
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Unexplained weight loss

Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer

Sometimes, during a routine pelvic examination, the doctor may notice lumps. All lumps may not be cancer. It is difficult to detect ovarian cancer at its early stages. Ovarian cancer can be detected by a blood test called the CA-125. Too much of this cancer antigen 125 in the blood may be a sign of ovarian cancer. A transvaginal ultrasound, CT scan, biopsy or surgery may also be done for diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

Stages of Ovarian Cancer

There are roughly four stages of ovarian cancer, which are:

  • Stage I – restricted to one or both ovaries
  • Stage II – extends to pelvic region, fallopian tubes and/or the uterus
  • Stage III – spread to the peritoneal region or lymph nodes in upper abdomen, groin or behind uterus
  • Stage IV – spread to other parts of the body and vital organs such as liver and lungs.

Treatment of Ovarian Cancer in India

Ovarian cancer is usually detected in the third stage. Upon detection, the treatment of ovarian cancer may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or a combination of these. The treatment of ovarian cancer will depend on the type and stage of the cancer and also the overall health, lifestyle and age of the patient.


Tags: Ovarian Cancer in India , Stages of Ovarian Cancer , Types , Treatment , Causes , Symptoms , Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome , PCOS , Ovaries , Uterus , Epithelium , Germ Cell , Stromal , Fallopian Tube , Ovary Disease , Menstrual Cycle , Endometriosis , Bloating , Transvaginal Ultrasound , Lumps , Columbia Asia Hospital in India


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