In the UK, around 7,100 women are diagnosed with o varian cancer each year.

It's the fifth most common cancer among women after Breast cancer , bowel cancer , lung cancer and cancer of the uterus (womb) .

Ovarian cancer is most common in women who havebeen throughthe menopause (usually over the age of 50), although it can affect women of any age.

As the symptoms of ovarian cancer can be similar to those of other conditions, it can be difficult to recognise. However, there are early symptoms to look out for, such aspersistent bloating, pain in the pelvis and lower stomach, and difficulty eating.

It's important to see your GP if you experience these symptoms, particularly over along period of time. This is known as ovulation.

Different types of ovarian cancer affect different parts of the ovaries. Epithelial ovarian cancer, which affects the surface layers of the ovary, is the most common type. This topic focuseson epithelial ovarian cancer.

What causes ovarian cancer?

The exact cause of ovarian cancer is unknown, but certain things are thought to increase a woman's risk of developing the condition, such as age, the number of eggs the ovaries release and whether someone in your family has had ovarian or breast cancer in the past.However, only 1 in 10 cases of ovarian cancer has a genetic link.

Chemotherapy is the main treatment for ovarian cancer, but your treatment will usually involve a combination of surgery and chemotherapy.

Around 46 out of 100 (46%) women will live for at least five years, and about 35 out of 100 (35%) will live for at least 10 years. However, women with advanced ovarian cancer have a poorer survival rate.

As with most types of cancer, the outlook for ovarian cancer will depend on the stage it's at when diagnosed that is, how far the cancer has advanced. The CancerResearch UK website has more informationabout the outlook for ovarian cancer .

Being diagnosed withovarian cancer can affect daily life in many ways. However, support is available for many aspects of living withovarian cancer , including emotional, financial and long-term health issues.

Ovarian cancer screening

There are methods of screening for ovarian cancer but, currently, they haven't been fully tested. Screeningis only available for women who are at high risk of developing the condition due to a strong family history or inheritance of a particular faulty gene. Clinical trials in the UK are currently being carried out to assess the effectiveness of screening in high-risk women and in the general population. A cervical screening test , which used to be called a smear test, can't detect ovarian cancer.


Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 28 Jan 2015