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Ovarian Cancer

The cause of ovarian cancer remains unknown.

Our ability to treat it? Of that we are certain. 

Because of its non-specific symptoms, ovarian cancer very often goes undiagnosed until it’s too late, rightly earning the nickname “silent killer.” And although hearing the news that you have ovarian cancer can be disheartening, we want you to know there is hope, because now we can begin to help.

Your OhioHealth Cancer Care Plan is like no other, and your diagnosis is just the first step. We marry the clinical with the compassionate, providing you the precise care, and caring, you need. We’ll be with you throughout your Care Plan and beyond, helping you navigate this new and unfamiliar landscape.

Questions will certainly arise as your treatment progresses. And that’s OK. We’re here to answer any and all of them, whether they’re about treatments & procedures, your eligibility for clinical trials, your desire to connect with others through educational classes and programs, or any of our many other resources available.

Ovarian Cancer Basics Treatments and Procedures

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: What is ovarian cancer and what causes it?

    A:

    Ovarian cancer occurs when abnormal cells develop in a woman’s ovaries. The ovaries are small, almond-shaped reproductive organs that sit on both sides of the uterus in the pelvis. There are three types of cancerous ovarian tumors, determined by where they are located in the ovary:

    • Epithelial tumors are the most common. They develop in the epithelium, which is the thin layer of tissue covering the ovaries
    • Germ cell tumors develop in the egg-producing cells of the ovaries
    • Stromal tumors develop in the cells that hold the ovaries together and produce the female hormones estrogen and progesterone

    Causes of ovarian cancer are generally unknown. There are hereditary factors known to contribute to a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer.

  • Q: Where do I find more information on ovarian cancer?

    A:

    There’s a lot of information about ovarian cancer on the Web and in bookstores. We recommend you start with the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute for their comprehensive expertise. From there you’ll find more resources.  

     Visit these websites for more information on ovarian cancer:

  • Q: What does it mean if my cancer spreads? How does it happen?

    A:

    Cancer spreads when the tumor’s cancer cells enter the blood stream or the lymph nodes. This spreading is referred to as “metastasis,” and the cancer is referred to as metastatic cancer. Because the metastatic cells are from the original cancer, referred to as the “primary,” the cancer is still the original cancer, although existing now in another part of the body. For example:

    • If ovarian cancer metastasizes into the colon, the tumor that forms in the colon is made up of ovarian cancer cells. It is still ovarian cancer, even though it’s now located in the colon.

    Treatment for metastatic cancer will depend on where it began (its primary source), the location and size of the metastatic cancer, previous cancer treatments and the patient’s health.

  • Q: Does OhioHealth treat ovarian cancer?

    A: Yes. We provide ovarian cancer patients with the best care available in the battle of this serious disease. We have an experienced team of gynecologic oncologists, unique OB/GYN physicians who have extensive special training to provide comprehensive medical and surgical care to women with reproductive tract cancers.
  • Q: How serious is my ovarian cancer diagnosis?

    A: We understand this is the biggest question for someone newly diagnosed with any cancer. The answer you’re looking for, however, is individual to you, just as it is individual to other ovarian cancer patients, and so cannot be generalized in an FAQ. 

    It’s important to talk to your doctor about the seriousness of your ovarian cancer diagnosis with a friend or family member present to help you hear and remember the information your doctor shares with you. Ask your doctor to explain the stage your cancer is in and what that means for your treatment and recovery. Share with your doctor your fears and concerns.

    At OhioHealth, we have the advanced technology to diagnose and treat this disease. We have highly skilled and experienced physicians who know how to fight it.
  • Q: What are the different stages of ovarian cancer?

    A: Staging is the process of determining the extent of the cancer, whether or not it has spread within the ovaries and/or outside of the ovaries to other organs. Staging is important in determining the type of treatment most appropriate for the cancer.

    The National Cancer Institute describes the stages of ovarian cancer in this way:

    Stage I: Cancer cells are found in one or both ovaries. Cancer cells may be found on the surface of the ovaries or in fluid collected from the abdomen. Stage II: Cancer cells have spread from one or both ovaries to other tissues in the pelvis. Cancer cells are found on the fallopian tubes, the uterus or other tissues in the pelvis. Cancer cells may be found in fluid collected from the abdomen. 

    Stage III: Cancer cells have spread to tissues outside the pelvis or to the regional lymph nodes. Cancer cells may be found on the outside of the liver. 

    Stage IV: Cancer cells have spread to tissues outside the abdomen and pelvis. Cancer cells may be found inside the liver, in the lungs or in other organs.

    Recurrence:This is cancer that has been treated and has returned after a period of time when the cancer could not be detected. The disease may return in the ovary or in another part of the body.

    For more in-depth information about the staging of ovarian cancer, we suggest visiting the National Cancer Institute’s information on ovarian cancer treatments.
  • Q: Is ovarian cancer treatable?

    A: Yes. Ovarian cancer treatment options include radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgery. How your ovarian cancer is treated will depend on the type and stage of your cancer. Additional factors determining the kind of treatment include your age and health and whether you plan to have children in the future. 

    Talk to your doctor about the stage of your ovarian cancer and how it will likely respond to treatment options.
  • Q: What treatment options are available to me, and how will they affect my daily life?

    A: Ovarian cancer is treated with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. It’s possible to be treated with one, two or all three of these treatments. 

    The options available to you will depend on the stage of your cancer and the condition of your overall health. They will also depend on your desire to have children because treatment for ovarian cancer can affect your fertility and/or involve the removal of your reproductive organs.

    Every cancer patient is unique in her treatment needs, and it’s best to talk with your doctor about what options will work for you, as well as what it means for your quality of life going forward.
  • Q: Will surgery be part of my treatment?

    A: Surgery is a very common treatment option for ovarian cancer and generally involves removal of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix and uterus; however, whether surgery will be considered part of your treatment depends on your individual cancer condition, as well as how well you would respond to surgery. Your doctor and others on your Cancer Care Team will work closely with you to help determine treatment options best for you.
  • Q: Does OhioHealth offer any clinical trials for ovarian cancer?

    A: Talk to your doctor about your interest in participating in a clinical trial for ovarian cancer. Your doctor will be able to give you information about any trials for ovarian cancer going on at OhioHealth. Also visit the National Cancer Institute’s website for information on clinical trials to help you learn more about them, so that you may have an informed discussion with your doctor.

Want more answers? Browse all of the OhioHealth cancer patient FAQs. General FAQ

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