The ovaries are a pair of small organs, 3-4 cm in size, in the form of an ellipse, which are part of the female reproductive system.  Most ovarian cancer tumors are part of a group called epithelial cancer. Epithelial ovarian cancer means that the cancer has begun to develop in the cells covering the ovary.

Symptoms

Most women in early stage of ovarian cancer don’t develop symptoms for a long time period.

When symptoms appear, they may include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Heartburn, nausea, flatulence and full stomach sensation
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Ascites – swelling due to accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity, which can also lead to shortness of breath
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Changes in bowel and bladder habits, such as prolonged constipation, diarrhea, or frequent urination
  • Lower back pain
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Exceptional bleeding from the vagina – a rare symptom.

If one or more of the above symptoms are present, you should go to the doctor. However, these are common symptoms for many other medical conditions, and most women who feel these symptoms do not have ovarian cancer.

Treatment

The initial treatment for epithelial ovarian cancer often involves surgery and chemotherapy.

If the tumor return after initial treatment, the condition is defined as “disease recurrence” and the main treatment is chemotherapy and sometimes surgery and radiation.