Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of ovarian cancer make an appointment with one of our providers at Sandpoint Women's Health.
Call 208-263-2173 to schedule an appointment today.
Or click the button below to request an appointment online.
Ovarian cancer affects one or both ovaries. Ovarian cancer is not common, but because ovarian cancer often goes undetected until it is in an advanced stage, it is the number one cause of deaths from gynecologic cancer in the United States.
Ovarian cancer can develop on the surface of the ovary or from tissues inside the ovary. There are three main types. The type that develops on the surface of the ovary, epithelial ovarian cancer, is the most common type. About 90% of cases of ovarian cancer involve epithelial tumors.
Certain risk factors are associated with epithelial ovarian cancer. The following factors have been shown to increase a woman’s risk of getting this type of cancer:
- Age older than 55 years
- Family history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, or endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus)
- Personal history of breast cancer
- Mutationsin BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes
- Never having had children
- Lynch Syndrome
If you have any of the following symptoms, especially if you have them for more than 12 days per month, contact your ob-gyn or other health care professional:
- Bloating or an increase in abdominal size
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
- Urinary symptoms (frequency and urgency)
Others symptoms can include vaginal bleeding, especially after menopause, and a change in bowel habits. Having these symptoms does not mean that you have ovarian cancer, but it is a good idea to find out what is causing them.
If you have frequent or persistent symptoms of ovarian cancer, you may have a physical exam, including a pelvic exam. An imaging test of the ovaries, such as a transvaginal ultrasound exam, may be done. If a growth is found on an ovary, your ob-gyn may order a blood test to measure your CA 125 level. CA 125 sometimes is increased in women with ovarian cancer. Results of these tests are used to assess the likelihood that the growth is cancer. Test results also will guide the next steps in the evaluation.
When ovarian cancer is present, surgery is usually recommended to remove the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. Lymph nodes and tissues in the pelvis and abdomen are checked for cancer and may be removed as well. In some cases, only the ovary with cancer may be removed. Chemotherapy after surgery is recommended for most cases of ovarian cancer. Chemotherapy is the use of drugs that kill cancer cells. In some cases, chemotherapy may be recommended before surgery.
This information was provided by the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists. For more information on ovarian cancer click the button below.