Ovarian cancer typically starts in either the cells on the surface of the ovary (ovarian epithelial carcinomas) or starts in the egg cells (malignant germ cell tumors).
About 90 percent of ovarian cancers are ovarian epithelial carcinomas and the risk increases with age, especially after the age of 50.
About five percent of ovarian cancers are malignant germ cell tumors, and this type can happen in women of any age, but approximately 80 percent are diagnosed in women under 30.
Ovarian Cancer: What You Need to Know
Once a woman begins having a monthly period, she should see her doctor to have a yearly pelvic exam that includes a physical examination of her ovaries and uterus.
Ovarian cancer is best managed by a group of gynecologic cancer specialists. At The University of Vermont Medical Center, our ovarian cancer team includes robotic surgeons with expertise in treating ovarian cancer.
Our team uses the latest medical technology and most advanced procedures to treat ovarian cancer. You will benefit from our highly trained da Vinci surgeons. Our Robotic Surgery for Gynecologic Cancer Treatment is minimally invasive which means less pain and a shorter recovery time.
You and your family will feel the advantages of personalized, patient-centered care. One gynecologic surgeon will manage your care throughout during your entire experience.
Experienced, Trusted Expertise
Our highest priority is to answer your questions and provide some answers that will help you during your treatment. Our decisions about your health are made with you and your family together, and are based on our experience, as well as the latest research.
Ovarian Cancer: What Is It?
The ovaries are two of a woman's reproductive glands, one on each side of the uterus, that make the eggs or ova. The average lifetime risk for ovarian cancer is about two percent.
About 25 percent of ovarian cancers are found at an early stage. Early detection improves the chances that ovarian cancer can be treated successfully. When ovarian cancer is found early and it has not spread beyond one or both ovaries, about 90 percent of patients live more than five years after an ovarian cancer diagnosis.
Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors
- Age older than 55
- Reproductive history, women who:
- Began their periods before age 12
- Had no children
- Had their first child older than age 30
- Began menopause after age 50
- Family history of ovarian cancer
- Personal history of breast cancer
- Put talcum powder directly on genitals or sanitary napkins
- Estrogen replacement therapy and hormone replacement therapy
Ovarian Cancer Symptoms
Early ovarian cancer symptoms can be vague, and include:
- Abdominal swelling
- Unusual vaginal bleeding
- Pelvic pressure
- Back pain
- Leg pain
- Digestive problems, such as:
- Bloating (belly feels full and tight)
- Indigestion (a feeling of fullness or discomfort during or after a meal)
- Long-term stomach pain
Most of these symptoms can also be caused by other less serious conditions. Nonetheless, reach out to your doctor right away. The earlier ovarian cancer is diagnosed and treated the better your outcome.