Ovarian cancer is the deadliest type of gynecologic cancer. That's probably because it typically is not diagnosed until it has reached an advanced stage. But you can help protect yourself by knowing if you are at risk and what symptoms to watch for.
The exact causes of ovarian cancer are unknown. But the following factors may play a role:
Being older than age 50 increases the odds of developing ovarian cancer.
Women who have had colon or breast cancer may face a higher risk for ovarian cancer than those who have not had either of these other cancers.
Women who have never given birth have a higher risk than women who have.
According to some evidence, using hormone replacement therapy after menopause may slightly raise risk. So might the use of fertility drugs that trigger ovulation.
If detected early, ovarian cancer is treatable. But symptoms often are vague and may not show up until later stages of the cancer. These easy-to-overlook warning signs may include:
For epithelial cancer, germ cell tumor and low malignant potential tumor, most patients have surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible. Options include:
An additional option for patients with low malignant potential tumor is partial oophorectomy to remove part of one ovary or part of both ovaries.
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