Women's Health

The Next Level of Ovarian Cancer Care

More about ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer has vague symptoms and is frequently not diagnosed in its early stages. In fact, it’s not uncommon for the mass to initially be found during a routine pelvic exam.

Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), “about 14,000 women will die from ovarian cancer in 2017”. The group also informs us that ovarian cancer is rare in women under 40, and that about ½ of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are 63 years of age, or older.

A woman’s risk of contracting ovarian cancer is very high if her mother, daughter or sister has ovarian cancer. In familial cancer, genetics often play a part. The mutated genes involved are BRCA1 and BRCA2. In fact, the presence of these mutated genes increases a woman’s risk for other types of cancer, such as breast cancer. Genetic testing is encouraged with a familial history of cancer to check for the gene mutation. If positive for the gene, the woman can then discuss her options with the oncologist.

The earlier ovarian cancer is diagnosed, the more treatment options there are. The staging of cancer progression also plays a large part in determining the most effective interventions. The stages represent if the cancer has spread from the ovary and into another part of the body. For example, in Stage I, the cancer remains in the ovary and has not spread. However, in Stage IV, the cancer has spread “to the inside or organs that are outside the belly and pelvic area to include the spleen, liver, or lungs” and is considered as an advanced stage of the disease. (ACS)