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Ovarian cancer - What you should know about it

12th June, 2024

Ovarian cancer - What you should know about it

Ovarian cancer is often known as a silent killer. This is because the disease does not show any major symptoms in its initial stages, making diagnoses challenging. By the time ovarian cancer is generally detected, it progresses to an advanced stage and can put the patient's life in substantial risk. Hence, it's important that women are aware of the risk factors, symptoms and treatments for the condition. Here, we share some of the useful insights about ovarian cancer.

Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors

The following are some of the risk factors for ovarian cancer:

  • Age: Ovarian cancer can affect women of all ages. However, it is more common in women aged between 50 and 60 years.
  • Family history: If your family has a history of breast, colorectal and ovarian cancers, you face a greater risk of the condition too. The risk magnifies if multiple relatives have faced one or more of these cancers.
  • Personal history: If you have previously suffered from breast or colorectal cancer, you are at greater risk of being affected by ovarian cancer.
  • Reproductive factors: If you never had children you would face a slight increase in the risk of ovarian cancer.
  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT): Sustained use of oestrogen-only hormone replacement therapy, without supplementing progesterone, can increase the risk too.

Ovarian Cancer symptoms

Since early detection is already challenging, you should be mindful about the following symptoms. Visit the doctor immediately for evaluation if you face one or more of these symptoms:

  • Abdominal bloating: If your abdominal region is continuously bloated, even after adopting dietary changes, it would be better to visit a doctor and get checked.
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain: Frequently experiencing pain and discomfort in the abdominal and pelvic regions, especially when you are not menstruating.
  • Feeling full quickly: You might also feel full after only consuming very limited amounts of food.
  • Changes in bowel or bladder habits: Noticeable change in the frequency of urination and constipation.
  • Unexplained weight loss: Sudden and unintentional weight loss without adopting any lifestyle changes, such as starting a new diet or workout routine.

Ovarian Cancer Treatment

The treatment for ovarian cancer can vary from one person to another. Generally, doctors will take into consideration your overall health condition and how far the cancer has progressed. The following are the treatment options:

  • Surgery: Surgery involves taking out as much of the tumour as possible while trying to keep the healthy tissues intact. However, depending on how far the cancer has spread, such a surgery may result in the removal of ovaries, fallopian tubes, the uterus, omentum, retroperitoneal lymphnodes
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is often used together with surgery, mostly to kill any remaining cancer cells. In cases where the cancer has progressed too much, chemotherapy may be the only viable treatment option

Looking for information on hospitals with good oncology departments?

Explore our Department of Oncology. The department offers a spectrum of cancer detection tests, and for ovarian cancer specifically, we offer Ultrasound (USG) and the CA 125 blood test. The department emphasises a multidisciplinary approach and uses the latest technologies combined with years of experience to provide comprehensive cancer care. We also engage in various academic activities, awareness programs, case discussions, seminars, and multi-disciplinary medical boards.