Ovarian Cancer

What is ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer is a disease in which cells in the ovaries multiply and grow abnormally.  The ovaries are almond-sized female reproductive organs that produce eggs, as well as the female hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Women usually have two ovaries located in the pelvis — one on each side of the uterus. If the genes that control cell growth in the ovaries no longer work properly, the cell divides uncontrollably and may form a tumor.

What are the different types of ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer can develop in different types of cells that make up the ovaries.

These include:

  • Surface epithelial cells, which cover the outer surface of the ovaries
  • Grm cells, which ultimately form eggs
  • Stromal cells, which help hold the ovary together and release estrogen and progesterone

Ninety percent of ovarian tumors develop in the surface epithelial cells. Cancer in these cells often arises at the end of the fallopian tubes, which are located on each side of the uterus. The eggs travel through the fallopian tubes to the uterus. Cancer also can develop in the peritoneum, the tissue lining the wall and covering the organs of the abdomen. Ovarian, fallopian tube, and peritoneal cancer are basically treated the same way.

What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer rarely has noticeable symptoms when it is in its earliest stages. As ovarian cancer progresses, subtle signs begin to appear, but you might not notice them right away, or they may be blamed on other common conditions.

The symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

  • Abdominal bloating or swelling
  • Pain in the abdomen or pelvis
  • Difficulty eating, or feeling full quickly
  • Lack of appetite
  • Feeling an urgent need to urinate
  • Needing to urinate frequently
  • Change in bowel habits  (constipation or diarrhea)

Our mission at The Central Florida Cancer Institute is to enhance quality of life, facilitate adaptation, and improve health outcomes through evidence-based care.

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