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.
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
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.