Ovarian cancer is cancer of the ovaries. Women are born with two ovaries, one on each side of the uterus. A woman’s ovaries are small, about the size of an almond. Though small, they’re responsible for many reproductive functions.
Ovarian cancer can be very difficult to detect and diagnose. Many of the symptoms of ovarian cancer are similar to symptoms caused by much less serious problems, including indigestion and bloating. Because the ovaries are deep within the pelvis, there often are neither signs nor symptoms of early ovarian cancer. Some cases of ovarian cancer will not be diagnosed until the cancer has spread to a woman’s abdomen or elsewhere within the pelvis. Unfortunately, ovarian cancer that has progressed this far is very difficult to treat. While the cancer remains confined to the ovaries, doctors have an easier chance of treating it. Advanced stages of ovarian cancer are frequently fatal.
Ovarian cancer occurs most frequently in older women. Ovarian cancer rates are highest in women aged 55-64 years.
The median age at which women are diagnosed is 63, meaning that half of women are younger than 63 when diagnosed with ovarian cancer and half are older. Ovarian cancer is rare in women younger than 40. However, it’s also possible for younger women and even adolescent girls to be diagnosed with a type of ovarian cancer.
According to research many cases in younger women have germ cell tumors, which is a different type of tumor from [the more common] epithelial tumor.
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