What is Ovarian Cancer?

What is Ovarian Cancer

A woman has two ovaries, which are part of the female reproductive system. Each is the size of a walnut and located at the pelvis on either side of the womb (uterus). The ovaries contain eggs and produce the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone. The ovary is made up of different cells, each performing its own function. When these cells grow abnormally, a cancer is formed. Hence there are many types of ovarian cancers but the most common is called epithelial cell cancer, which arises from the lining of the ovary. In the initial stage, the cancer is confined to the ovary but as it grows bigger, it can spread via the following routes:

Within the abdomen, forming deposits on the intestinal wall, liver capsule and lining of the abdominal cavity.

Lymph glands in the pelvis and abdomen.

Eventually via the blood stream to the lungs and bones.

What are the Signs and Symptoms?

Epithelial ovarian cancer usually does not have signs or symptoms in the early stage. The symptoms of ovarian cancer are also non-specific. The following are the common complaints:

  • Bloated feeling in the abdomen
  • Backache or ache in the legs
  • Abdominal distension
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Change of bowel habits
  • Urinary complaints
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Loss of weight

Are You at Risk?

The following are associated with a high risk of ovarian cancer:

  • High fat diet
  • Infertility or not having children until late in life
  • Early menarche and late menopause
  • Family history of ovarian, breast or colorectal cancer

How is Ovarian Cancer Diagnosed?

How is Ovarian Cancer Diagnosed

Diagnosis is based on the physical examination of the pelvis and tests such as:

Pelvis examination by the doctor. An ovarian cancer is suspected if:

  • – The ovary is enlarged
  • – There is an abdominal lump
  • – There is excessive fluid in the abdomen

Ultrasound scan of the pelvis. The scan is either performed on the abdomen or via the vagina. CA-125 is a tumor marker that is often raised in the blood of women with ovarian cancer. However, high CA-125 levels may be due to other causes. CT scans of the abdomen and pelvis are a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body generated by X-rays. This scan is useful in diagnosing ovarian cancer and studying the extent of the spread of cancer.

Biopsy is the removal of tissue for microscopic examination in order to make a diagnosis of the cancer. To obtain the tissue, a laparatomy (abdomen operation) is performed. If cancer is suspected, the entire ovary will be removed (oophorectomy).

How is Ovarian Cancer Treated ?

Stage Treatment
I & II

The common treatments are open surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. However, for those who can’t tolerate or do not want to take common sugery, the preferred treatment is minimally invasive treatment, including cryotherapy, interventional therapy, microwave ablation, combined therapy of Chinese medicine and western medicine, etc for  cancer stage 1 or stage 2. Minimally invasive treatment only brings 2mm trauma and lesser side effects than chemotherapy and radiotherapy.


In ovarian cancer stage 3, minimally invasive treatment can remove the cancer cells and it only brings 2mm trauma, lesser side effects than chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Comprehensive treatment is better than the single treatment because cancer has spread to lymph nodes in middle of chest. Single treatment might not well meet patient’s need to kill the cancer cells to the greatest extent. Taking cryotherapy or microwave destroys the localized tumor in cervix and interventional therapy helps kills the residual cancer cells spread to other organs.


In ovarian cancer stage 4 , the tumor has spread to the other part of the body (metastasis). Open surgery is not effective as a form of treatment. Rather, minimally invasive treatment becomes a good option in lung cancer stage 4. Cryotherapy, microwave, interventional therapy, nanoknife therapy is applicable to treat cervical cancer stage 4 and doctor team will first discuss patient’s condition and give a recommended treatment plan according to their physical condition, willing and other factors.

After Treatment

Temporary abstinence from sexual intercourse for 6 weeks to allow for normal healing.

If both ovaries are removed, the patient will experience the symptoms of menopause. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be prescribed to relieve the menopausal symptoms.

Regular check up with blood tests and if necessary, X-rays should be kept with the oncologist.

Patients should resume normal, healthy lifestyles after treatment.

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If you still have questions about Ovarian Cancer treatment, please click the following links or have online consultation with our experts to get detailed answers.

What are the treatment options for Ovarian Cancer patients?

Which kind of treatment has fewer side effects?

Different treatment options for different stages of Ovarian Cancer

Prevention and treatment for metastatic Ovarian Cancer.

How to improve the survival time and living quality of Ovarian Cancer patients?

Voice out your inquiries to online medical professionals and you shall be provided with satisfying answers.

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How We Treat Cancer?

Interventional Therapy

Interventional Therapy is a new substitute of traditional chemotherapy, which means that a physician introduces instruments such as needles or catheters (long, thin tubes) into the body through tiny(1-2 mm) incisions in the skin. The instruments are then guided by an imaging technique called fluoroscopy to the cancer tumor. In this way, the physician can deliver cancer medicine directly to the tumor.more info

Cryotherapy Therapy

Cryotherapy Therapy, also known as “Argon-Helium Knife Cryotherapy”, is a new substitute of traditional physical therapy. Practically speaking it is “extreme cold + extreme heat” cancer treatment. Generally, a minimum of 10-15 minutes is required to achieve an extreme analgesic (pain relieving) effect while lowering the temperature to the injured area, thus reducing the metabolic rate and swelling associated with tissue injury.more info

Particle Knife

Particle Knife is a new substitute of traditional radiation therapy. With the help of computer Treatment Planning System (TPS), radioactive particles will be implanted into tumors. The particles which release γ-rays can continuously kill tumor and cause destruction targeting tumor cells. With time, the radiation amount would accumulate to be large enough to destroy the DNA double strands of tumor cells.more info

Medical Team

Our medical team includes surgeons, radiology oncologists, medical oncologists, nurses, nutritionists, accompanied by interpreters and related health experts; we shall be dedicated to provide you a convenient and high-quality service.

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