While the main cause of ovarian cancer is unknown. About 20% of women inherit a genetic mutation that significantly increases their risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer. If you have a family history of these cancers, you may consider genetic testing to determine if you carry the gene. When you need comprehensive treatment and compassionate support for ovarian cancer, you can depend on the team at Hunterdon Hematology Oncology, in Flemington, New Jersey. They have extensive experience providing advanced treatments that help women face and recover from ovarian cancer.
Ovarian Cancer FAQs
What causes ovarian cancer?
Most ovarian cancers start in the epithelial cells that cover the outside of the ovaries. Though rare, ovarian cancer can also begin in the cells that form eggs or produce hormones. There are three types of ovarian tumors, each named for the tissue in which they are found:
- Epithelial Cell Tumors: These tumors form from cells that cover the surface of the ovary. Epithelial cell tumors account for the majority of ovarian tumors.
- Germ Cell Tumors: These tumors develop from the cells that make the eggs in the ovary.
- Stromal Cell Tumors: These tumors develop in the cells of the structural tissue of the ovary responsible for producing female hormones.
Ovarian cancer is strongly associated with fallopian tube cancer and primary peritoneal cancer, which develop in the same type of tissues. Many cancers diagnosed as ovarian cancer may originate in the fallopian tubes and spread to the ovaries.
What symptoms develop due to ovarian cancer?
Though you may develop symptoms in the early stages of ovarian cancer, they’re often too generic to raise any red flags. As the cancer spreads, the same symptoms become more pronounced.
You may experience:
- Abdominal pain
- Pelvic pain
- Back pain
- Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
- Urinary urgency
- Urinary frequency
You may also notice a change in your menstrual periods, such as heavy or irregular bleeding.
How is ovarian cancer treated?
Hunterdon Hematology Oncology specializes in chemotherapy, targeted therapy, hormone therapy, and other supportive services such as managing pain and other symptoms. Though the team also performs radiation therapy if needed, radiation is seldom a treatment for ovarian cancer.
Before you start any type of treatment, however, you should talk with the team at Hunterdon Hematology Oncology, about how your treatment might affect your fertility.
If you’re pre-menopausal and you want to preserve your eggs for a future pregnancy, you need to do that before starting chemotherapy or having surgery.
You may need chemotherapy to shrink the tumor before surgery, as well as after surgery to eliminate any cancer cells remaining in your body. Your chemotherapy may include one or more drugs in a series of treatments.
The Hunterdon Hematology Oncology team carefully monitors side effects and provides the treatment you need to alleviate or prevent common side effects caused by chemotherapy. They also offer scalp-cooling treatment that helps to prevent hair loss.
Targeted therapy uses medications that attack cancer cells while causing little or no damage to healthy, normal cells. Your doctor chooses from medications that work in different ways. For example, some stop blood vessels from growing in the cancer cells, while others affect the tumor’s DNA and prevent the cancer from growing.
If your ovarian cancer originated in the hormone-producing cells, your doctor may recommend hormone therapy to reduce estrogen production.
Clinical trials may also be available for ovarian cancer.
What supportive therapies might I receive for ovarian cancer?
As you undergo treatment and recover from ovarian cancer, you receive ongoing support from the team at Hunterdon Hematology Oncology. They make your treatment easier to obtain by doing lab work and maintaining a pharmacy onsite.
You can also receive dietary guidance to promote your health and counseling with a social worker if needed for your emotional well-being.
They also perform a family risk assessment, an option that’s especially beneficial if you have a family history of ovarian or breast cancer.
Contact your health care provider if you are a woman 40 years or older who has not recently had a pelvic exam. Routine pelvic exams are recommended for all women 20 years or older.
If you’ve been diagnosed and need compassionate care for ovarian cancer, reach out to Hunterdon Hematology Oncology to learn about your treatment options – call or book an appointment online.