Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is a disease in which malignant cells are found in one or both of the ovaries, the female reproductive organs in the uterus. Ovarian cancer is the eighth most common form of cancer among women. Learn more about ovarian cancer ›

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

Swelling is usually a sign of excess fluid buildup or inflammation in the body. Swelling can make you look bloated or distended, and your skin may appear shiny and stretched out. Swelling may be widespread or localized to a particular area of the body, such as the lymph nodes, hands, ankles, tongue or face.

Swelling, or edema, can occur anywhere within the body, including the internal organs, but it is most noticeable on the face, neck, hands, legs, ankles and feet. Edema is classified according to the body part that is affected, such as pulmonary edema (of the lungs), facial edema, and lymphedema (of the lymph nodes).

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Treatment for Ovarian Cancer

This section focuses on treatment for epithelial ovarian cancer. Other types of ovarian cancer are rare. The type of treatment you have depends on how the cancer has spread. Cancer may be confined to the ovary or spread only to spots nearby. If so, it is called local or early-stage cancer. If the cancer has spread to other places in the body, it’s called metastasis or advanced ovarian cancer.

Your doctor may suggest a combination of treatments. Doctors most often treat ovarian cancer with surgery followed by chemotherapy. These treatments are listed from the most to least common.

  • Surgery. You may have surgery to both diagnose ovarian cancer and treat it. Your surgeon removes tissue and examines it for signs of cancer. But the main goal of surgery is to attempt a cure by removing the tumor or tumors. Your doctor may remove one or both ovaries and possibly surrounding tissue and lymph nodes. In rare cases, the surgeon performs a second surgery after other types of treatment to make sure all cancer is removed or to take samples of lymph nodes or other tissues. This helps determine whether cancer has spread.

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Living with Ovarian Cancer

Many women may live with ovarian cancer for many years. That's why it's important to stay as physically and emotionally well as possible.

Physically and mentally patients have to be in tip-top shape. A combination of exercise, such as walking or swimming, and other healthy habits, such as not smoking, can be helpful.

Ovarian cancer can affect the gastrointestinal tract. So if you have this cancer, you should pay close attention to any digestive problems. A nutritionist can help. You can ask your doctor for a referral to one.

It's also important to keep a positive frame of mind. You can do this in a number of ways--through exercise, meditation, religion, spirituality, and, if needed, antidepressant medications.

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