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Ovarian Cancer


Ovarian cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in the ovaries. It is the fifth most common cause of cancer deaths in women.

Experts do not know exactly what causes ovarian cancer. But they do know that DNA changes play a role in many cancers. The risk of ovarian cancer rises for women who are past menopause, women who have a family history of ovarian cancer, and women who have inherited certain gene changes, such as BRCA or Lynch syndrome (HNPCC).

Early ovarian cancer may cause symptoms such as recent, frequent bloating, or pain in the belly or pelvis. It may also cause difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, or urinary problems, such as feeling an urgent need to urinate or urinating more often than usual. But the early symptoms of ovarian cancer start suddenly, happen almost every day, and don't go away. They also feel different from the usual digestive or menstrual problems. Women who have these symptoms almost daily for more than a few weeks need to talk with their doctors.

Ovarian cancer is treated with surgery and, in most cases, chemotherapy.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerRoss Berkowitz, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last RevisedJuly 6, 2011

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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