Living with Ovarian and Fallopian Tube Cancer

Ovarian cancer is cancer that begins in the ovaries, the female reproductive glands that produce eggs. The vast majority of ovarian tumors are epithelial, which form in the cells covering the surface of the ovary. The other types are germ cell tumors, which originate in the cells that manufacture the eggs; and stromal tumors, which form in the tissues that produce the female hormones. Approximately 22,000 new cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year, and survival rates vary greatly depending on the stage at which the cancer is caught.

Though it can also affect younger women, ovarian cancer usually occurs in women over the age of 50. There are no known causes of the disease, but women who have an increased risk include those who go through early menopause, have not been pregnant, do not take birth control pills, or have a family history of ovarian cancer. Early stage ovarian cancer has few symptoms; later stage symptoms include: pain in the lower abdomen, bloating, vaginal bleeding, abnormal periods, nausea or indigestion, and sudden changes in weight. The stages of ovarian cancer range from I to IV, depending on tumor size and how widely it may have spread. Ovarian cancer treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation; often, a combination of these will be administered.

For more information on Ovarian cancer, read the American Cancer Society's detailed guide.

If you have been affected by ovarian cancer, please be sure to take some time to read others' experiences, share your own experiences, and ask or answer questions. Don't forget to view our Beginner's Guide to Cancer.

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