Ovarian Cancer Treatment

Where you go for diagnostic services and ovarian cancer treatment matters. More people in the tri-state area choose us for our expertise and comprehensive care approach. If you are looking for an oncology care team—or a second opinion—consider our cancer care centers in New Jersey.

Understanding Ovarian Cancer

Different types of tumors can grow in a woman’s ovaries. Some are benign and noncancerous, which means they can’t spread. Those types of tumors typically can be removed by taking out the ovary or part of it. Ovarian cancer, however, is a malignant (cancerous) tumor. If a cancerous tumor isn’t treated, it can grow and spread to other parts of your body.

The main types of ovarian cancer include:

  • Epithelial Ovarian Cancer: This is by far the most common type of ovarian cancer and originates in cells on the surface of the ovary. Many epithelial ovarian cancers start in fallopian tube or peritoneal (the lining of the inside of the belly) epithelial cells, then go to the surface of the ovary.
  • Germ Cell Ovarian Cancer: This cancer starts in the cells that form eggs in the ovary. These rare tumors are most common in women in their teens and early twenties. There are different sub-types of germ cell tumors.
  • Stromal Cell Cancer: This rare form of cancer forms in the tissue that makes certain female hormones and holds the ovaries in place.

Ovarian Cancer Causes

Factors that can increase your risk of ovarian cancer include:

  • Age when menstruation started and ended.
  • Family history of ovarian cancer. ...
  • Inherited gene mutations. ...
  • Estrogen hormone replacement therapy, especially with long-term use and in large doses.
  • Older age.

Ovarian Cancer Stages

A surgical procedure (a biopsy) is required to determine the stage of progression of ovarian cancer. There are four main stages of ovarian cancer:

  • Stage I: The cancer is localized/confined to the ovaries, and has not spread beyond the ovaries to the pelvic, lymph nodes, abdomen or elsewhere.
  • Stage II: The cancer is in either or both ovaries and has spread beyond the ovaries to the pelvic region (e.g. uterus or fallopian tubes.)
  • Stage III: The cancer is in either or both ovaries, is in the pelvic region, and has also spread beyond the pelvis to the abdomen lining, or to the lymph nodes in the rear portion of the abdomen.
  • Stage IV: Stage IV is the most advanced stage of ovarian cancer. The cancer metastasized to locations such as the liver, spleen, lungs or other organs beyond the pelvic and abdominal regions.

Ovarian Cancer Symptoms

Because currently there exists no routine test for detecting ovarian cancer (a Pap smear does not detect it), it is strongly recommended that anyone with genetic or other risk factors routinely consult their gynecologist and have annual pelvic exams. Early signs of ovarian cancer include:

  • A more frequent or urgent need to urinate and/or constipation
  • Tiredness or low energy
  • Abdominal bloating, indigestion or nausea
  • Changes in appetite, such as a loss of appetite or feeling full sooner
  • Changes in menstruation
  • Changes in bowel movements
  • Pressure in the pelvis or lower back
  • Increased abdominal girth

It is extremely common for early signs of ovarian cancer to be confused with the ordinary discomfort or minor problems associated with common, passing, non-life-threatening illnesses or conditions. Thus, it is extremely important to pay attention to all symptoms, especially if there is a family history of ovarian cancer.

Signs of Ovarian Cancer at a Later Stage

At a later stage, a pelvic mass may develop. Symptoms include:

  • Pain shortly before or after the start of your period
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Pressure, swelling or pain in the abdomen
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Difficulty emptying your bladder
  • A dull ache in the lower back and thighs
  • Abnormal bleeding

How Ovarian Cancer is Diagnosed

The following are methods that gynecologic oncologists use to detect ovarian cancer:

  • Pelvic exams
  • Ultrasounds
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scans
  • CA-125 blood tests
  • Biopsies

If initial exams strongly suggest that you have ovarian cancer, your oncologist may request more tests to better define the cancer. Further testing can help show if the cancer has grown into nearby areas or spread to other parts of your body, and assist you and your care team in determining the best type of treatment. Additional tests can include an x-ray, positron emission tomography (PET) scan, colonoscopy, or laparoscopy.

Full-Scope Ovarian Cancer Care in NJ

We are pleased to be a leader in treating ovarian cancer. Our gynecologic oncologists, medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, and other allied health professionals use the latest therapies and methods. Best of all, we work with you to ensure that you are fully educated and empowered about your care plan. That’s why our cancer care goes above and beyond the norm—and so many patients are pleased with the results.

Ovarian cancer treatments can include a combination of solutions. Most often, ovarian cancer is treated with surgery and chemotherapy. Radiation therapy, which uses high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells, is not often used in ovarian cancer patients. Immunotherapy—leveraging drugs to activate the body’s immune system to fight cancer—as well as clinical trials, are also possible options.

To contact one of New Jersey’s best gynecologic cancer specialists call
844-CANCERNJ or 844-226-2376.

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