Ovarian CANCER

Every day, about 20 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the UK. Women who have been through menopause are commonly affected, although younger women may sometimes be diagnosed.

Types of ovarian cancer 

  • Epithelial ovarian cancer – This is the most common type of ovarian cancer. Primary peritoneal cancer and fallopian tube cancer are similar to epithelial ovarian cancer and are treated in the same way.
  • Germ cell ovarian tumours – The most common type of these tumours is ovarian teratoma. They usually affect girls and young women in their early 30’s and are considered rare.
  • Sex cord stromal tumours – The most common type is Granulosa cell tumour. This type of tumour can either be benign or malignant.
  • Borderline ovarian tumours – These tumours are formed from abnormal cells in the tissue covering the ovary. They are benign and can be removed with surgery.

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In its early stages, the symptoms of ovarian cancer may not be easy to recognise due to similarity to some common conditions. Contact and make an appointment to see your GP if you notice any of the following:

  • feeling full quickly
  • loss of appetite
  • abdominal pain that doesn’t go away
  • bloating or an increase in the size of your abdomen
  • needing to wee more often
  • unexplained weight loss and tiredness
  • changes in your bowel habit or symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, especially if this starts after the age of 50.

Treating Ovarian Cancer

Your general health and how far the cancer has spread are main considerations when treating ovarian cancer. The following treatments aim to cure the cancer as early as possible, but in worst cases, they will help in relieving the symptoms and controlling the spread of the cancer for however long it will take.

  • Surgery to remove as much of the cancer as possible – This often involves the removal of both ovaries, the womb and the fallopian tubes.
  • Chemotherapy – This is usually done after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells, but is commonly used before surgery to shrink the cancer.

What Can Your GP Do?

Speak to your GP if you have symptoms. They will examine you and might refer you for further tests or to see a specialist.

More information about Ovarian Cancer can be found here.