Ovarian cancer is the eighth most common form of cancer among women. The cause of ovarian cancer is not yet known. Ovarian cancer is a disease in which malignant cells are found in an ovary. There are three types of ovarian tumors, named for the tissue in which they are found:
- Epithelial cell - cells that cover the surface of the ovary. Most of these tumors are benign (noncancerous). However, epithelial ovarian cancer accounts for 85 percent to 90 percent of ovarian cancer cases.
- Germ cell - cells that form the eggs in the ovary.
- Stromal cell - cells that form the ovary and produce female hormones.
The following are the most common symptoms of ovarian cancer. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include: general discomfort in the lower abdomen, including any/all of the following:
- feeling swollen or bloated
- a loss of appetite or a feeling of fullness - even after a light meal
- gas, indigestion, and nausea
- weight loss
- diarrhea or constipation, or frequent urination caused by the growing tumor, which may press on nearby organs, such as the bowel or bladder
- feeling very tired all the time
- bleeding from the vagina
- build up of fluid around the lungs, which may cause shortness of breath
The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that if any of these symptoms occur almost daily or last a few weeks and are new, the woman should seek the attention of her physician. In many cases, symptoms do not occur until the ovarian cancer is in an advanced stage. The symptoms of ovarian cancer may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.
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