The ovaries and fallopian tubes are part of the female reproductive system.
There is one ovary and one fallopian tube on each side of the uterus (the
hollow, pear-shaped organ where a fetus grows). The ovaries store eggs
and make female hormones. Eggs pass from the ovaries, through the fallopian
tubes, to the uterus. The peritoneum is the tissue that lines the abdomen
wall and covers organs in the abdomen. Part of the peritoneum is close
to the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
The most common type of ovarian cancer is called ovarian epithelial cancer.
It begins in the tissue that covers the ovaries. Cancersometimes begins
at the end of the fallopian tube near the ovary and spreads to the ovary.
Cancer can also begin in the peritoneum and spread to the ovary. The stages
and treatment are the same for ovarian epithelial, fallopian tube, and
primary peritoneal cancers.
Another type of ovarian cancer is ovarian germ cell tumor, which is much
less common. It begins in the germ (egg) cells in the ovary. Ovarian low
malignant potential tumor (OLMPT) is a type of ovarian disease in which
abnormal cells form in the tissue that covers the ovaries. OLMPT rarely
Cancers of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and primary peritoneum are the
fifth leading cause of cancer death in women in the U.S. These cancers
are often found at advanced stages. This is partly because they may not
cause early signs or symptoms and there are no good screening tests for them.
Ovarian Cancer screening
Screening is looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. This
can help find cancer at an early stage. When abnormal tissue or cancer
is found early, it may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear,
cancer may have begun to spread.
Scientists are trying to better understand which people are more likely
to get certain types of cancer. They also study the things we do and the
things around us to see if they cause cancer. This information helps doctors
recommend who should be screened for cancer, which screening tests should
be used, and how often the tests should be done.
It is important to remember that your doctor does not necessarily think
you have cancer if he or she suggests a screening test. Screening tests
are given when you have no cancer symptoms.
If a screening test result is abnormal, you may need to have more tests
done to find out if you have cancer. These are called diagnostic tests.
What is prevention?
Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the chance of getting cancer.
By preventing cancer, the number of new cases of cancer in a group or
population is lowered. Hopefully, this will lower the number of deaths
caused by cancer.
To prevent new cancers from starting, scientists look at risk factors and
protective factors. Anything that increases your chance of developing
cancer is called a cancer risk factor; anything that decreases your chance
of developing cancer is called a cancer protective factor.
Some risk factors for cancer can be avoided, but many cannot. For example,
both smoking and inheriting certain genes are risk factors for some types
of cancer, but only smoking can be avoided. Regular exercise and a healthy
diet may be protective factors for some types of cancer. Avoiding risk
factors and increasing protective factors may lower your risk but it does
not mean that you will not get cancer.
Different ways to prevent cancer are being studied, including:
- Changing lifestyle or eating habits.
- Avoiding things known to cause cancer.
- Taking medicines to treat a precancerous condition or to keep cancer from starting.
Source: National Cancer Institute
We are here to help
For more information or to talk with a Cancer Nurse Navigator, please call
Our Cancer Nurse Navigators can help with:
- Answering questions and providing educational materials on cancer and specific
types of cancer
- Explaining your diagnosis and treatment, every step of the way
- Emotional support, including one-on-one time, and recommendations for counseling services
- Expedited scheduling and coordinating of diagnostic test and physician
- Coordination on your plan of care between your primary care and oncology
- Access to clinical trials
- Recommendations on resources for nutrition, rehabilitation, transportation,
support groups, financial assistance, and spiritual and emotional guidance
- Making important connections with community support services and resources
- Survivorship support
For more information, or to talk with a Cancer Nurse Navigator, please