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Ovarian Cancer


Ovarian cancers are a group of multiple different malignant tumors that originates from different types of cells present in the ovaries. About 85-90% of ovarian cancers originate from superficial cells or “epithelial cells”. Women should be aware of their risk of ovarian cancer. It is important for women to be alert to changes in their bodies and to discuss them with a doctor. Some of the most common risk factors for ovarian cancer include certain genes (BRCA1, BRCA2), older age, late menopause, and family history of ovarian, breast & colorectal cancers. In some cases, there are no symptoms, and the symptoms that do present from cancer of the ovary often are confused with other health problems. As a result, ovarian cancer is most often first found in advanced stages (after it has spread). About 20% of ovarian cancers are found in early stages (before it has spread). Warning signs can include: pain or pressure in the pelvic area or back, indigestion, gas, and bloating that cannot be explained, abnormal vaginal bleeding, pain or swelling of the abdomen, an increase in abdominal size, increased feeling to urinate or changes in bowel habits, feeling tired, & weight loss. However, It is important to know that most people with these non-specific symptoms do not have ovarian cancer. At the present time, there is no good screening test for ovarian cancer. The CA-125 blood test, pelvic ultrasound, and a newer tumor markers test OV1 are all suggested, but none of them are perfect. Routine pelvic exams may detect ovarian masses only when they are large. Treatment of ovarian cancers requires surgery and chemotherapy. If ovarian cancers detected in early stage, treatment is very successful.


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Nezhat Solimani, MD
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