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  • What if I'm diagnosed with ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer can be a serious and scary diagnosis, but there are treatment and support options that can help.

What are the treatments for ovarian cancer?

Your ovarian cancer treatment options depend on what stage your cancer is in and how far outside of the ovary it’s spread. Treatment options can include surgery to remove your ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes, as well as radiation or chemotherapy. The earlier that your cancer is found, the more likely you are to beat it. Talk with your doctor or specialist about your specific treatment options.

If you’ve been treated for ovarian cancer, then you’ll need to have regular check-ups afterwards to make sure your cancer stays gone. These types of check-ups might include imaging like ultrasounds or MRIs, as well as blood tests and physical exams.

Will ovarian cancer affect my fertility?

Whether or not your fertility is affected will depend on how far your cancer has spread. If you only have it in 1 ovary, then it may still be possible to get pregnant in the future, because you’ll still release eggs from your other ovary. Sometimes cancer treatments — like surgery or chemotherapy — can impact your fertility, so talk with your doctor about what you can expect.

Where can I get more information?

You can get more information about ovarian cancer from your nurse or doctor, or at your local Planned Parenthood health center. You can also check out American Cancer Society for more info.


More questions from patients:

What's the ovarian cancer survival rate?

Each year, about 22,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. About 14,000 people die from it every year. The exact ovarian cancer survival rate depends on things like the stage of the cancer and your medical history.

Early detection and treatment are important, so getting regular check-ups and knowing what symptoms to look out for are good ways to protect yourself. Symptoms can be hard to recognize because they can be caused by many things. Symptoms include:

  • bloating or increased belly size

  • pelvic or belly pain

  • feeling full quickly or having trouble eating

  • having to pee, or feeling like you have to pee, often

There also are some things that can put you at a higher risk for ovarian cancer, including

  • being over 63 years old

  • having a family history of breast, gynecological (including ovarian), or colon cancer

  • having a personal history of breast cancer

  • certain mutations to genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2

  • never having given birth

  • having a body mass index (BMI) over 30

  • infertility

  • endometriosis

  • never having been on the pill

If you have a high risk of developing ovarian cancer, your doctor may recommend you have your ovaries removed to prevent ovarian cancer.

If you have symptoms or are concerned about ovarian cancer because of your personal risks, talk with your doctor or nurse, or visit your local Planned Parenthood health center.

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