The ovaries are 4x3x2 cm organs, one on each side of the uterus. They are responsible for secreting hormones and producing eggs. The egg produced is captured by the tubular organs located next to it. The fusion of sperm and egg takes place in the type organs. Ovaries can develop cancer over time. The average age of onset of ovarian cancer is 65 years.

Who is more likely to develop ovarian cancer?

The mechanisms of ovarian cancer are becoming clearer every day. It is more common in women who start menstruating at an early age and enter menopause late. Other risk factors include not having given birth to a child, not breastfeeding, sexually transmitted diseases, living in an industrialized society and family history.

Recent studies have shown that familial cancer genes are the cause of 20% of ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer and breast cancer have common gene defects. Every patient with cancer should be examined for these genes. In the presence of these genes, the age of cancer can be reduced to 45-50 years. PARP inhibitors, which have recently come into use, prolong life expectancy in these patients. Familial breast-ovarian cancer genes should be checked to protect other relatives of the patient and to use effective drugs.

How does ovarian cancer spread and how can it be detected?

There is no screening method for ovarian cancer as there is for breast and cervical cancer. Therefore, it is not possible to conduct social screening by calling every woman. Patients with familial breast-ovarian cancer genes are followed up with ultrasound and blood tests. Patients with ovarian masses or cysts should be checked regularly for cancer. If the cyst is large, solid (meat-like areas), multi-compartmentalized and chambered, has blood flow, and finger-like protrusions, the possibility of cancer is high. If there is fluid in the abdomen, it may be a sign of advanced cancer.

Ovarian cancer spreads directly into the abdomen. First it spreads to the peritoneum and uterus, and in advanced stages it spreads to the intestines, fatty tissue called omentum and all intra-abdominal organs such as stomach, liver and spleen.

75% of patients consult a doctor in advanced stages. There are no specific symptoms for the disease. Complaints such as abdominal swelling, indigestion, palpable mass, weight loss and weakness are common.

What is the treatment and preparation phase of ovarian cancer?

The treatment for ovarian cancer is removal of all tumor tissue followed by chemotherapy. Ovarian cancer surgery is a very challenging and specialized surgery. It should be performed by people who are trained and experienced in this field. The most important point in the patient’s life expectancy and the course of the disease is to leave no tumor in the surgery. For this reason, it may be necessary to remove the uterus and ovaries as well as organs such as the intestine and spleen.