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Ovarian cancer is a form of gynecologic cancer. Ovarian cancer may begin either in the ovaries (the two small, almond-shaped organs on each side of the uterus that produce female hormones and store eggs) or the fallopian tubes.
Ovarian Cancer Risks
Women who have the following have an increased risk for ovarian cancer:
- Family history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer or colon cancer
- Immediate blood relative (mother, sister, or daughter) with ovarian cancer; two or more close blood relatives increase your risk further
- Family history of cancer caused by a mutation of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene
Valley’s Cancer Genetics Program offers genetic testing for women with family history of any of the above cancers.
Ovarian Cancer Symptoms
Women with ovarian cancer don’t always have symptoms or their symptoms may be mild. When related to ovarian cancer, the following symptoms are chronic and become worse over time:
- Pain or swelling in the lower abdomen
- Appetite loss
- Feeling full after eating only a little
- Weight loss
Ovarian Cancer Treatment at Valley
Your treatment options will depend on the cancer’s stage, whether you plan to have children and your overall health. Depending on the stage, it typically includes a combination of surgery and chemotherapy.
Ovarian Cancer Surgery
Surgery is the main treatment for many ovarian cancers. The primary goals of ovarian cancer surgery are:
- Stage the cancer to see how far the cancer has spread from the ovaries
- Debulking, surgically removing as much of the cancer as possible
The Gynecologic Oncology Program at Valley offers minimally invasive options for ovarian cancer surgery. Minimally invasive surgeries offer many benefits to patients, including a faster recovery so patients can begin any additional cancer treatments sooner.
Your physician may also recommend chemotherapy and/or other targeted therapy to treat ovarian cancer. Your physicians will discuss with you which treatment options will be the best fit for your individual situation, and will refer you to a medical oncologist.
Why Choose Valley for Ovarian Cancer?
- Minimally invasive surgery options: Some patients with ovarian cancer may benefit from a hysterectomy, the removal of the uterus. At Valley, our gynecologic oncology program offers minimally invasive hysterectomy options using the da Vinci surgical system. With robotic surgery, patients typically experience less pain, fewer complications, a shorter hospital stay and a faster recovery and return to normal activities.
- Treating the whole person: Ovarian cancer treatment can require difficult decisions, particularly for women of child-bearing age. That’s why our team focuses on providing an integrative, team-oriented and personalized approach to care. In addition to providing the best possible clinical care, they make it a priority to get to know their patients on a personal level and help them address their overall health.
- Fertility preservation options: Valley’s Fertility Preservation program allows younger women undergoing cancer treatment to preserve their family-building options for the future. Valley’s fertility and cancer teams collaborate to schedule fertility preservation so it does not delay your cancer treatment. For patients who need a hysterectomy, the fertility program offers options for gestational surrogacy using your own frozen eggs.
- Genetic counseling and testing: For women with a family history of ovarian cancer, breast cancer or colon cancer, we often recommend genetic counseling and genetic testing. Knowing whether you carry specific genes, such as the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, can affect how you and your physician make treatment decisions.
- Mount Sinai partnership: Valley and the Mount Sinai Health System have partnered to provide patients with access to additional clinical trial opportunities and to Mount Sinai’s nationally renowned specialists in cancer care.