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Ovarian CancerOvarian cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow in one or both of the ovaries in the female reproductive system. Epithelial ovarian cancer which forms on the surface of the ovary, is the most common type. Another less common type is germ cell tumors which begin in egg cells. Women are at risk for ovarian cancer throughout their lifetime. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), about 22,000 cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year.
SymptomsOvarian cancer symptoms are more apparent in later stages and can be difficult to detect in early stages. Ovarian cancer symptoms may include: If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, consult a MemorialCare Physician partner.
Causes & PreventionThe causes of ovarian cancer remain unknown. A family history of ovarian or breast cancer can increase risk in some women. Inherited mutations of the BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 genes can significantly increase a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer. Understanding your genetic make-up with genetic counseling can help determine your risk for ovarian cancer.
Risk FactorsWomen are at greater risk for ovarian cancer if you:
DiagnosisA physical exam is the first step to diagnose ovarian cancer. The exam may be followed by a blood test called Cancer Antigen 125 (CA-125). A CA-125 test measures the amount of this protein in the blood, which can help determine if cancer could be present. An ultrasound (high-frequency sound waves) may be used to see if a tumor is present on the ovary.
StagingIf cancer is diagnosed and before treatment begins, additional tests are performed to determine the stage of the cancer and to see if it has spread to other parts of the body.
TreatmentsMemorialCare’s experienced team of oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists and surgeons conduct roundtable discussions (tumor boards) of newly diagnosed patients to make recommendations for the best course of treatment.