Signs of ovarian cancer include discomfort in the pelvic region, a frequent need to urinate, constipation, abdominal swelling and decreased appetite, according to Mayo Clinic. Early stages of ovarian cancer often cause no symptoms, and advanced ovarian cancer generally causes non-specific symptoms that are easily attributed to other conditions.
Ovarian cancer begins an abnormal growth on the ovaries that forms into a mass of cells called a tumor, Mayo Clinic explains. The tumor can grow into other organs and pieces can break off and begin growing elsewhere. The majority of these tumors start in the outer layer of tissue on the ovaries, but other types begin in the ovary cells that produce hormones or in the ovary cells that produce eggs. Ovarian cancer is most common in women between the ages of 50 and 60. Risk factors include a family history of the disease, smoking, polycstyic ovary syndrome and use of an intrauterine device.
The treatment for ovarian cancer depends on how advanced it is, states Mayo Clinic. When ovarian cancer is detected in its early stages, doctors typically perform surgery to remove the affected ovary and its associated fallopian tube. Unfortunately, because it causes so few symptoms, the more common treatment is the removal of both ovaries, both fallopian tubes and the uterus. Chemotherapy is often necessary in advanced cases.