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Ovarian Cyst Early Symptoms

October 7, 2022 - Parul Saini, Webmedy Team


Ovarian cancer occurs when cells in the ovaries begin to multiply out of control and form tumors. If left untreated, the tumor can spread to other parts of the body. This is called metastatic ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer often has warning signs, but early symptoms are vague and easily missed.

The female reproductive system contains two ovaries, one on each side of the uterus. The ovaries are the size of an almond. They produce eggs (ova) as well as the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

In this article, we will walk you through all about ovarian cancer, its symptoms, types, risks, and treatment options.

Ovarian Cancer Early Symptoms

  • Abdominal bloating or swelling
  • Quickly feeling full when eating
  • Weight loss
  • Discomfort in the pelvic area
  • Fatigue
  • Back pain
  • Nausea
  • Changes in bowel habits, such as constipation
  • A frequent need to urinate
  • Difficulty breathing

Severe Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

If cancer has reached a later stage without intervention, some individuals may develop the following symptoms:

  • Fluid buildup around the lungs (pleural effusion)
  • Fluid buildup in the abdomen (ascites)
  • Obstruction or blockage of the digestive tract (bowel obstruction)

If you are dealing with pleural effusion, you may experience shortness of breath, a cough, and/or chest pain.

Types of Ovarian Cancer

The ovaries are made up of three types of cells. Each cell can develop into a different type of tumor:

  • Epithelial Ovarian Carcinomas

    Epithelial Ovarian Carcinomas form in the layer of tissue on the outside of the ovaries. About 85 to 90 percent of malignant ovarian cancers are epithelial ovarian tumors.

  • Stromal tumors

    Stromal tumors grow in the hormone-producing cells. Seven percent of ovarian cancers are stromal tumors.

  • Germ cell tumors

    Germ cell tumors develop in egg-producing cells. Germ cell tumors are rare.

Risk Factors of Ovarian Cancer

The exact cause of ovarian cancer is unknown. However, these factors can increase your risk:

  • A family history of ovarian cancer
  • Genetic mutations of genes associated with ovary, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2
  • A personal history of breast, uterine, or colon cancer
  • Obesity
  • The use of certain fertility drugs or hormone therapies
  • No history of pregnancy
  • Endometriosis
  • Older age is another risk factor. Most cases of ovarian cancer develop after menopause

It's possible to have ovarian cancer without having any of these risk factors. Likewise, having any of these risk factors doesn't necessarily mean you'll develop ovarian cancer.

How is Ovarian Cancer Treated?

The treatment depends on how far cancer has spread. A team of doctors will determine a treatment plan depending on your situation. It will most likely include one or more of the following:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Surgery to remove the tumor
  • Targeted therapy
  • Hormone therapy

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