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Ovarian Cancer

​Ovarian Cancer: What is it

The ovaries are part of the female reproductive system. They are found in the pelvic cavity, one on each side of the uterus (womb). Each ovary has an outer covering made up of epithelial cells. Inside the ovaries are germ (primitive) cells which will eventually mature into eggs (ova). Ovarian cancer occurs when cells grow in an uncontrolled, abnormal manner and produce tumours in one or both ovaries.

Ovarian cancer is the 5th most common cancer affecting women in Singapore.

Risk Factors of Ovarian Cancer

  1. Having one or more close relative(s) with ovarian cancer e.g. mother, sister or grandmother
  2. A history of breast cancer
  3. A history of colorectal cancer
  4. Age above 50 years old
  5. Infertility or not having children
  6. Early menstruation before the age of 12
  7. Late menopause
  8. A high fat diet

Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

  1. A bloated feeling in the abdomen
  2. Swelling of the abdomen
  3. Abdominal discomfort
  4. Change in bowel habits
  5. Rapid or unexplained weight loss
  6. Backache or pain in the legs

The signs and symptoms of early ovarian cancer are usually non-specific. Sometimes, it may not present with any symptoms.

These symptoms may be caused by a number of problems and may not indicate the presence of cancer, but if any of the above symptoms persists or is bothering you, do consult your doctor for advice.

Screening for Ovarian Cancer

Screening for ovarian cancer is currently not recommended.

Treatment for Ovarian Cancer

Treatment options for ovarian cancer include surgery, ranging from a unilateral or bilateral oophorectomy and involves chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Specialist Services

Specialist services are available at the following institutions:

  • National Cancer Centre Singapore
    Tel: 6436 8088

  • KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital
    Tel: 6294 4050

  • Singapore General Hospital
    Tel: 6321 4377