Ovarian cancer

Although ovarian cancer (ovarian carcinoma) can develop at any age, the average age at which the disease is contracted is 60 years.

Overview

Although ovarian cancer (ovarian carcinoma) can develop at any age, the average age at which the disease is contracted is 60 years. Among other things, obesity and a family history of ovarian cancer (mother or sister) increase the risk. Abdominal pain, digestive problems and vaginal bleeding after menopause are possible symptoms. Often the first sign is an increase in abdominal girth.

Symptoms

Causes and treatment

Causes

The immediate causes aren’t known, but the following factors increase the risk

  • Age, obesity
  • No/few pregnancies, short period of breastfeeding
  • PCO syndrome and endometriosis
  • Ovarian cancer in mother or sister (risk increases by 5 to 10%)
  • Genetic factors
  • On the other hand, long-term use of oral contraceptives seems to reduce the risk

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Physical examination of abdomen and vagina
  • Ultrasound (sonography)
  • Operation to remove tissue samples
Possible therapies
  • Surgical removal of as much tumour tissue as possible
  • As a rule, removal of both ovaries and the uterus
  • Depending on the stage of cancer, surgery may also involve other organs
  • Surgery can be preceded or followed by chemotherapy or radiation therapy (neoadjuvant radiotherapy or chemotherapy)
  • Preventive removal of ovaries after menopause: to be discussed if there is a family history of ovarian cancer

What can I do myself?

  • Breastfeed for a lengthy period (reduces the risk)
  • Be informed about your family's cancer history
  • Take your body’s warning signals seriously

Get a personal Preventive Care Recommendation now.

When to see a doctor?

  • Women > 50 years with unexplained lower abdomen problems, bloating and increased urination frequency
  • Vaginal bleeding after menopause
  • Persistent pressure in the abdomen and abdominal pain
  • Weight loss in spite of simultaneous increase in abdominal girth
  • To clarify your higher risk if there is a family history of ovarian cancer

Further information

Krebsliga Schweiz (Swiss Cancer League)
www.krebsliga.ch

Synonyms

ovarian cancer, ovarian carcinoma

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CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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