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Ovarian Cancer Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Risk Factors

  • Symptoms: Though early stage ovarian cancer often has no symptoms, a later stage of ovarian cancer may have symptoms that include persistent cramps or pain in your abdomen and pelvis or lower back; abnormal vaginal bleeding; abnormal vaginal discharge that may contain blood; pain or bleeding during sexual intercourse; nausea; unexplained loss of appetite; persistent bloating; larger abdomen size or a lump that can be felt in your abdomen; fatigue; change in bowel movements; change in bladder habits; and unexplained weight loss.
  • Diagnosis: Some diagnosis methods for ovarian cancer include a pelvic exam and Pap test; blood tests; evaluations of your liver and kidney; and pelvic and transvaginal ultrasound. To see if the cancer has spread, your doctor may order a CT scan, MRI, or a chest X-ray. A diagnosis for ovarian cancer is confirmed and staged by biopsies of the ovaries.
  • Treatment: Treatment options for ovarian cancer may include surgery to remove cancerous tissue; hysterectomy; and chemotherapy.
  • Risk Factors: Risk factors for ovarian cancer include a family history of ovarian or breast cancer; genetics; infertility; never having been pregnant; no prior use of hormonal birth control methods; aging; early menstruation or late menopause; use of hormone replacement therapy; and history of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
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