Get educated about ovarian cancer

The ovaries play an essential role in human reproduction and female hormone regulation. Most often, ovarian cancer originates in the epithelial cells, which form a layer of tissue that covers the ovary. Unfortunately, ovarian cancer often goes undetected until it’s already spread beyond the ovary. This makes the prognosis less favorable. But at West Hills Hospital, our Cancer Care team is committed to giving our patients the superior care they deserve for the best possible outcome. Your quality of life is important to us.

Know the risk factors for ovarian cancer
It’s possible for any person who has ovaries to develop this type of cancer. Some factors might increase the likelihood of a diagnosis. Most women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer are ages 50 and older.

Other risk factors include:

  • Family history of ovarian cancer
  • Personal history of endometrial or breast cancer
  • Endometriosis
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Obesity
  • Certain gene mutations (BRCA1 and BRCA2)

A woman’s menstrual history can also affect her risk of ovarian cancer. The risk is elevated for women who:

  • Had their first period before age 12
  • Experienced late menopause
  • Never had children
  • Had their first child after age 30

Watch out for the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer
It’s common for the symptoms to only develop once the cancer has already spread to other areas of the body. These symptoms can include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling of fullness, even after eating just a little
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Frequent urination
  • Abdominal pain, pressure, cramps or bloating
  • Indigestion
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding

These symptoms can also be attributed to other causes. It’s important to discuss any unusual symptoms with your doctor, but try not to become unnecessarily alarmed or fearful.

Explore the treatment options for ovarian cancer
Cancer care professionals always develop personalized treatment recommendations because no two patients are alike. The treatment for any given patient will depend on her general health, cancer stage, maternal intentions and personal preferences.

Often in cancer care, a combined approach is used, which may include two or more of the following:

  • Surgery (removal of ovaries and nearby tissues)
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Targeted therapy

West Hills Hospital understands how important it is for families affected by cancer to receive services and treatments right in their own communities. Our Cancer Care in West Hills brings together leading specialists in their field to put the latest, sophisticated medical technology to work for our patients. You can request a referral by calling (818) 676-4321.

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