All About Ovarian Cancer: Types, Early Diagnosis, Treatment Options, Survival Rate, and Precautions



1/20/20243 min read

woman in pink and white polka dot shirt
woman in pink and white polka dot shirt


Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that originates in the ovaries, which are the female reproductive organs responsible for producing eggs. It is the fifth most common cancer among women and often goes undetected until it has reached an advanced stage. In this article, we will explore the different types of ovarian cancer, the importance of early diagnosis, available treatment options, survival rates, and precautions that can be taken to reduce the risk.

Types of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer can be classified into several types, including:

  • Epithelial ovarian cancer: This is the most common type, accounting for about 90% of ovarian cancer cases. It starts in the cells that cover the outer surface of the ovaries.

  • Germ cell tumours: These tumours develop from the cells that produce eggs. They are more common in younger women and have a higher survival rate.

  • Stromal tumours: These tumours originate from the cells that produce hormones in the ovaries. They are less common but can still be malignant.

Early Diagnosis

Early diagnosis of ovarian cancer is crucial for successful treatment and improved survival rates. However, it can be challenging as the symptoms are often vague and can be attributed to other conditions. Some common symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

  • Abdominal bloating or swelling

  • Pelvic pain or discomfort

  • Feeling full quickly while eating

  • Changes in bowel habits

  • Urinary urgency or frequency

If you experience any of these symptoms persistently, it is important to consult your healthcare provider. They may perform a physical examination, order imaging tests such as ultrasounds or CT scans, and conduct blood tests to check for tumour markers.

Treatment Options

The treatment options for ovarian cancer depend on the stage of the disease and other factors such as the patient's overall health and preferences. The main treatment modalities include:

  • Surgery: Surgery is usually the first step in treating ovarian cancer. It involves removing the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the uterus in some cases. Lymph nodes and other affected tissues may also be removed.

  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is often administered after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells. It may be given intravenously or directly into the abdominal cavity.

  • Targeted therapy: Targeted therapy drugs work by targeting specific molecules or pathways involved in cancer growth. They can be used in combination with chemotherapy.

  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy is rarely used for ovarian cancer but may be recommended in certain cases, such as when the cancer has spread to the pelvic area.

Survival Rate

The survival rate for ovarian cancer varies depending on the stage at diagnosis. Unfortunately, ovarian cancer is often diagnosed at an advanced stage, which lowers the overall survival rate. According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year relative survival rate for ovarian cancer is around 48%. However, if the cancer is diagnosed and treated at an early stage, the five-year survival rate can be as high as 92%.


While there is no guaranteed way to prevent ovarian cancer, there are some precautions that can be taken to reduce the risk:

  • Regular check-ups: Routine pelvic examinations and screenings can help detect any abnormalities early on.

  • Birth control pills: Taking oral contraceptives for at least five years has been shown to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.

  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding: The more pregnancies a woman has and the longer she breastfeeds, the lower her risk of ovarian cancer.

  • Healthy lifestyle: Maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of many types of cancer, including ovarian cancer.


Ovarian cancer is a serious condition that requires early detection and prompt treatment. Understanding the different types of ovarian cancer, recognizing the symptoms, and seeking medical attention are crucial steps in improving survival rates. With advancements in treatment options and ongoing research, there is hope for better outcomes in the future. By taking precautions and adopting a healthy lifestyle, women can reduce their risk of developing ovarian cancer and improve their overall well-being.