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Did you know?
Most women who display the symptoms do not have ovarian cancer which is why we recommend an expert pelvic ultrasound scan to ensure an accurate diagnosis is given
Ovarian and breast cancer tend to run in families. Two genes, BRCA 1 & 2, are the common cause of the genetic inheritance, although other genes are implicated in a minor way. The best treatment of ovarian cancer is prevention, and a family history is a very good guide. If you suspect you have a family history of breast and or ovarian cancer, it is crucial that you get good advice about this. Once ovarian cancer develops, it is very difficult to treat effectively.
Symptoms of ovarian cancer
As can be seen from the list below, the most common symptoms can arise for reasons other than ovarian cancer, hence the need for careful, expert investigation.
Feeling persistently bloated
Discomfort in your tummy or pelvic area
Feeling full quickly when eating or loss of appetite
Needing to pass urine more often or more urgently than normal
Other symptoms include:-
Indigestion or nausea that persists
Pain during sex
Change in bowel habit (constipation or diarrhoea)
Vaginal bleeding, particularly after the menopause
Unexplained or extreme tiredness
Weight gain or weight loss
Ovarian Cancer Treatment
Treatment of ovarian cancer involves removal of all of the cancer if possible. If the cancer is confined to the ovary this is an easy procedure, but if the cancer has spread and is stage 3, as is common, this may require the skills of an expert surgeon to remove all of the tumour.
Most ovarian cancers are treated with chemotherapy after the tumour has been removed. Radiotherapy is very rarely used for ovarian tumours.
Recent evidence suggests that most ovarian cancers start in the fallopian tubes rather than the ovaries. Women at high risk of ovarian cancer because of genetics sometimes have their ovaries removed before disease develops as a prophylactic measure. In these women, a small number would be expected to have very early undetected cancers or even pre-cancers. However, rather than finding these lesions within the ovaries, abnormalities within the fallopian tubes have been found. By the time cancers are diagnosed, the ovaries and tubes are often both involved in a large tumour mass and identifying where the cancer began proves difficult.
The identification of the fallopian tubes as the probable origin of ovarian cancer raises the possibility of removing the tubes to prevent ovarian cancer rather than needing to remove the ovaries – causing menopause. However, this theoretical possibility has yet to be tested in large trials.
Ovarian Cancer Assessment
Consultation with a Gynaecological Oncologist
Full discussion of ovarian cancer risk
Discussion of options for management
Expert pelvic ultrasound scan with IOTA risk assessment
Expert Ultrasound only