Ovarian cancer has long been called "the silent killer," because its symptoms are often overlooked until the cancer has reached an advanced stage. However, as more women learn about what to watch out for, more cases of ovarian cancer can be detected early, and treated more quickly.
Ovarian cancer symptoms
All women are at risk for ovarian cancer. It's important to be on the look out for any symptoms that are not normal for your body, and symptoms that keep coming back. Pay attention to chronic symptoms such as:
- Abdominal pain
- Difficulty eating
- Feeling full quickly
- Frequent urination
- Pelvic pain
- Pelvic pressure
- Urgent need to urinate
These symptoms may or may not happen in combination with other symptoms, such as:
- Back pain
- Irregular vaginal bleeding
- Painful Intercourse
If you have a combination of any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. Main Line Health can help with comprehensive gynecology services that include diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer treatment options
Whether your reproductive years have just begun, or you're past menopause, we understand that ovarian cancer is a sensitive subject. We offer personalized care that continues long after you recover. In fact, our specialists follow you over a five-year period after your treatment to ensure you are doing well.
The best treatment for you depends on your age, medical history and the size and location of your tumor. Our goal is to use the least invasive treatment options possible with the best possible results. Your treatment options for ovarian cancer may include:
- Chemotherapy – Our team includes a gynecologic oncologist for chemotherapy and hormonal therapy to treat ovarian cancer, including intraperitoneal chemotherapy, in which your chemotherapy drugs are administered directly through the abdomen.
- Radiation – You may need traditional external beam radiation or more targeted intensify modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), which uses proton beams to conform to the exact shape of your tumor while leaving nearby tissue untouched.
- Surgery – We offer traditional and minimally invasive surgery options, including laparoscopic and robotic surgery to remove cancerous tumors.
Special consideration for your fertility
Your ovaries are an important part of your reproductive system. Located on each side of your uterus, the ovaries are in charge of producing eggs during your reproductive years. When possible, we treat your ovarian cancer using techniques that spare the healthy tissue nearby. We understand that you may want to start a family after you recover from ovarian cancer, so we offer options to help preserve your fertility.
If you are having chemotherapy, radiation or surgery to remove ovarian cancer, you may wish to freeze your eggs in advance. At Main Line Health, we use the latest technique for egg freezing, called vitrification, so you can save your healthy eggs for a future pregnancy. If egg freezing is not an option, you might choose egg donation from someone you know or from an egg bank.
No matter which option you choose, in vitro fertilization will allow a possible future pregnancy when you're ready.