Ovarian Cancer FAQs

Ovarian Cancer Questions & Answers

Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the ovaries and typically goes undetected until it has spread. Learn the answers to frequently asked questions about ovarian cancer: 

Abdominal pain is one of the most common symptoms of ovarian cancer, but it can also be a sign of many other things including menstruation. However, if abdominal pain is constant it may be due to ovarian cancer. Ovarian pain is frequent with ovarian cancer and pain may increase as the cancer advances.

Lower back pain is the most common with ovarian cancer – this is because the uterus and ovaries sit near the lower back. 

Many women develop ovarian cysts during their lifetimes, but most of them aren’t cancerous. However, there is a chance that cysts can be cancerous. Your Mercy physician can help you treat an ovarian cyst, whether it’s cancerous or not.

Early stages of ovarian cancer don’t tend to show symptoms, so common symptoms can seem to come on suddenly as the cancer advances.

The survival rate largely depends on the type and stage of ovarian cancer. It can also depend on your age.

  • Earlier stages of epithelial cell cancer have a 5-year survival rate of about 90%. The rate decreases to about 28% in the later stages.
  • Germ cell and stromal cell cancer have a slightly higher survival rate than epithelial cell cancer, with later stages having a survival rate of about 60-70%.

Pregnancy is rare with ovarian cancer. A woman who discovers she has ovarian cancer while she is pregnant may be given alternative treatments to chemotherapy to help her give birth to a healthy child.

Even after a long period of remission, ovarian cancer can return. It’s possible to live with recurrent ovarian cancer, and treatment will focus more on easing symptoms than curing recurrent cancer.

The growth of ovarian cancer varies from patient to patient. Some people find that their ovarian cancer spreads very slowly, over the course of several years, but others have cancer that grows over the course of a few months.

There have been many studies done on talcum powder, but there has been no conclusive evidence that talcum powder does or doesn’t increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer. If you’re concerned that talcum powder might affect your health, you can look for alternative products.