An ovarian neoplasm is a growth in women that begins in the cells that form eggs, line the ovaries, or release ovarian hormones, and can be benign or cancer-causing. Ovarian neoplasms can develop at any age; however, women aged 50 years old or older are most at-risk. There are many risk factors for ovarian neoplasm development, including never being pregnant, being Caucasian or of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, being over 50 years old, having a family history of breast, ovarian, uterine, prostate, or colon cancer, having previously had breast cancer, having high estrogen exposure, or having a genetic mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. These mutations are commonly signs of breast cancer susceptibility, but are linked to ovarian cancer as well.
Symptoms of an ovarian neoplasm include indigestion, bloating, cramping, abdominal/lower back pain, frequent urination, abdominal pain/swelling, vaginal bleeding post-menopause, and sudden weight changes. Ovarian neoplasms, if cancerous, are usually diagnosed once the cancer has spread throughout the pelvis and abdomen. However, early diagnosis and treatment may greatly improve possible outcomes, so being aware of early symptoms is recommended.
Ovarian neoplasms are usually detected during routine pelvic exams and can be confirmed with ultrasounds and CT scans of the abdomen or pelvis. A blood test may also be done to test for levels of protein CA-125, which is produced by some ovarian cancerous neoplasms. Treatment may include surgery to remove the cancer, though sometimes, the affected ovary/ovaries may be removed as well to prevent more cancerous neoplasms. Chemotherapy may also be an option if the cancer has spread.
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with an ovarian neoplasm, speak with your doctor about the most current treatment options. Support groups may also be available for further resources and information.
Description Last Updated: Aug 22, 2018