Ovarian Cancer - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Cancer is a condition in which cells of your body replicate haphazardly. It is the abnormal, haphazard, and rapid division of cells. Ovarian cancer is one that occurs in the ovaries.

Anatomy of the female internal reproductive organs

The female reproductive organs constitute the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, and vagina.

The ovaries are responsible for producing an egg (ovum) every month, and the uterus is responsible for bearing the fetus throughout the pregnancy. The fallopian tubes, also known as oviducts, connect the uterus with the ovaries giving a passage for the egg to come to the uterus. The uterus is connected to the vagina or birth canal-a muscular canal that is responsible for the reception of the penis during sexual intercourse and the provision of a passageway for the baby during childbirth. The vagina connects the uterus to the external reproductive organs.

Ovarian cancer

It is the second most common type of gynecological cancer. A woman has two ovaries- each of them produces an egg every month. An abnormal, haphazard, and rapid division of ovarian cells is known as ovarian cancer. Sometimes these cells can come from fallopian tubes that are located close to the ovaries. Ovarian cancer may show the following signs and symptoms;

  • Discomfort in the pelvis area

  • Changes in bowel habits, such as constipation or diarrhea

  • A frequent need to urinate

  • Abdominal bloating 

  • Feeling full when eating

  • Weight loss

Types of Ovarian Cancer

There are three types of ovarian cancer, depending on the type of cells affected. 

Epithelial tumors 

The outermost tissue of the ovaries is the epithelium. The abnormal and haphazard growth of epithelium is called an epithelial tumor. About 90 percent of ovarian cancers are epithelial tumors.

Stromal tumors

Stromal cells are the differentiating cells of the ovaries that are hormone-producing cells. Usually, they are diagnosed earlier as compared to other ovarian tumors. Moreover, about 7% of ovarian tumors are stromal tumors. 

Germ cells tumors

It is a rare cancer that occurs in egg-producing cells. Mostly it tends to occur in younger women. 

Ovarian cysts 

The female reproductive system has two ovaries of almond size, each on the side of the uterus, located in the lower abdomen. Both the ovaries produce eggs each month in the child-bearing age and hormones estrogen and progesterone. 

Sometimes cysts- fluid-filled pockets may develop in the ovaries called ovarian cysts. Mostly, they do not cause any pain and symptoms. Many women will develop at least one cyst in their whole lifetime. However, if left untreated, it can get ruptured and cause serious symptoms. Therefore, you must get regular pelvic exams done to get an insight into it. 


The exact cause for ovarian tumors is unknown. But it occurs due to gene mutation. Any changes in the gene-sequencing cause the cells of your body cells to replicate haphazardly. It is the abnormal, haphazard, and rapid division of cells.

Risk factors 

The risk factors for ovarian cancer can be;

  • Being older than 50 to 60

  • Having inherited gene mutation 

  • Having a family history of ovarian cancer

  • Taking long term and large doses of estrogen replacement therapy

  • Beginning of menstrual cycle at an early age and entering menopause late


  • To prevent ovarian cancer, the following tips can help;

  • Exercise regularly

  • Eat a healthy diet that contains plenty of fruits and vegetables.

  • Do not smoke, also avoid exposure to second-hand smoke.

  • Maintain a healthy body weight


Ovarian cancer is one that occurs in the ovaries. If you are at risk of developing it, you must visit your healthcare provider for follow-up visits and attend all the screening test appointments.

Doctors For Ovarian Cancer

Dr. Sadia Khan


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