What is Ovarian Cancer?


varian cancer occurs when some cells in your ovaries start to rapidly divide uncontrollably, creating growths or tumors around the ovaries and surrounding tissues. According to the American Cancer Association, ovarian cancer is the fifth most common type of cancer among women, and it is estimated that more than 20,000 women will be diagnosed with this type of cancer every year.

Ovarian cancer affects the ovaries, which are a keypart of the female reproductive system. All females have two ovaries, each about the size of an almond, which lie on either side of the uterus and are responsible for creating and releasing eggs during the menstrual cycle, as well as producing the two mean female sex hormones: estrogen and progesterone.

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How is Ovarian Cancer Diagnosed?

Unlike other types of cancer, which are silent and asymptomatic, ovarian cancer may produce very serious signs and symptoms even at a very early stage. Some of the most common symptoms of ovarian cancer can be very similar to less serious conditions such as urinary tract infections or mild abdominal problems. These symptoms include:

  • Bloating
  • Indigestion and changes in appetite
  • Changes in bowel movements
  • Urinary incontinence or increased urge to urinate
  • Pain around the pelvis area
  • Back pain
  • Fatigue

When ovarian cancer is found at its early stages, patients have nearly a 95% chance of living more than five years after their diagnosis. However, only 20% of ovarian cancer cases are found early.

Currently, there are no tests to specifically diagnose ovarian cancer. This type of cancer is usually found during routine checkups when a professional perform a pelvic exam to evaluate the shape, size and any abnormalities in around the uterus and ovaries.

Unfortunately, it is very hard to feel or see any to see or feel any tumors early, which is why most women are diagnosed later. In addition to a pelvic exam, doctors might order a transvaginal ultrasound or a CA-125 blood test.

What Causes Ovarian Cancer?

Scientists still aren’t exactly sure about what causes ovarian cancer. As with many other types of cancer, there are a number of risk factors that can increase the likelihood of a woman to develop this kind of cancer, however, have one or even a few of these risk factors doesn’t mean that a person is destined to develop the disease.

These are some risk factors that have been observed in women with ovarian cancer:


Older women seem to be more likely than younger women to develop ovarian cancer. In fact, most women with ovarian cancer have been diagnosed after menopause, and half of all ovarian cancers are diagnosed in women 60 and older.

Hormone Replacement Therapy After Menopause

Researchers have observed that women who continue taking hormones after menopause has ended have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. Additionally, women who have taken estrogen without progesterone for more than five years also have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.

Family History

Women with a family history of ovarian cancer (mother, sisters, grandmothers, aunts, etc.) have a higher risk of developing it than those who do not have any family history of ovarian cancer.

Being Obese or Overweight

Having a high body mass index (BMI) has been linked to several types of cancer, including ovarian cancer. However, researchers are still trying to figure out the relationship between cancer cells and obesity.

Having Children Later in Life or Never Having Children

Women who have had at least one successful pregnancy before the age of 30 seem to have a decreased risk of developing ovarian cancer, which also appears to decline with the number of children the woman has. On the other hand, women who never had children or had their first child later in life have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.

How is Ovarian Cancer Treated?

The treatment course for ovarian cancer depends on the stage the cancer is in. Cancer is categorized in stages in order to describe its size and severity. The stages are as follows:

Stage 1

Cancer is still small and contained within one area.

Stage 2 and 3

Cancer has begun to grow and spread to nearby tissues.

Stage 4

Also known as advanced or metastatic cancer, cancer has spread and is affecting other parts of the body.

Depending on which stage the ovarian cancer is found, the doctor and the patient may decide in one – or several treatments to attack cancer cells. Some common ovarian cancer treatments include:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Clinical trials

Ovarian Cancer Clinical Trials

Clinical trials have contributed a lot to the current survival rates of ovarian cancer. However, researchers are still trying to find better screening methods that will allow doctors to find and diagnose ovarian cancer earlier, thus improving the patient’s life expectancy. Scientists are continuously researching new, less invasive treatment options that might potentially cure ovarian cancer.

If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial, ask your doctor or contact your local hospital and/or university to find out which trials are recruiting volunteers near you.

ClinicalTrials.gov: Recruiting Studies | Ovarian Cancer | Last update posted in the last 300 days Studies found on ClinicalTrials.gov by a search of: Recruiting Studies | Ovarian Cancer | Last update posted in the last 300 days

  • IACS-6274 With or Without Pembrolizumab for the Treatment of Advanced Solid Tumors
    on September 10, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Conditions:   Advanced Endometrial Carcinoma;   Advanced Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma;   Advanced Malignant Solid Neoplasm;   Advanced Melanoma;   Advanced Ovarian Clear Cell Adenocarcinoma;   Chondrosarcoma;   Clinical Stage III Cutaneous Melanoma AJCC v8;   Clinical Stage IV Cutaneous Melanoma AJCC v8;   Pathologic Stage III Cutaneous Melanoma AJCC v8;   Pathologic Stage IIIA Cutaneous Melanoma AJCC v8;   Pathologic Stage IIIB Cutaneous Melanoma AJCC v8;   Pathologic Stage IIIC Cutaneous Melanoma AJCC v8;   Pathologic Stage IIID Cutaneous Melanoma AJCC v8;   Pathologic Stage IV Cutaneous Melanoma AJCC v8;   Refractory Endometrial Carcinoma;   Refractory Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma;   Refractory High Grade Ovarian Serous Adenocarcinoma;   Refractory Melanoma;   Refractory Ovarian Clear Cell Adenocarcinoma;   Stage III Ovarian Cancer AJCC v8;   Stage III Uterine Corpus Cancer AJCC v8;   Stage IIIA Ovarian Cancer AJCC v8;   Stage IIIA Uterine Corpus Cancer AJCC v8;   Stage IIIA1 Ovarian Cancer AJCC v8;   Stage IIIA2 Ovarian Cancer AJCC v8;   Stage IIIB Ovarian Cancer AJCC v8;   Stage IIIB Uterine Corpus Cancer AJCC v8;   Stage IIIC Ovarian Cancer AJCC v8;   Stage IIIC Uterine Corpus Cancer AJCC v8;   Stage IIIC1 Uterine Corpus Cancer AJCC v8;   Stage IIIC2 Uterine Corpus Cancer AJCC v8;   Stage IV Ovarian Cancer AJCC v8;   Stage IV Uterine Corpus Cancer AJCC v8;   Stage IVA Ovarian Cancer AJCC v8;   Stage IVA Uterine Corpus Cancer AJCC v8;   Stage IVB Ovarian Cancer AJCC v8;   Stage IVB Uterine Corpus Cancer AJCC v8Interventions:   Drug: Glutaminase Inhibitor IPN60090;   Biological: PembrolizumabSponsor:   M.D. Anderson Cancer CenterRecruiting

  • Thiol-disulfide Homeostasis in Patients With Ovarian Cancer
    on August 18, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Condition:   Ovarian CancerIntervention:   Sponsor:   Tepecik Training and Research HospitalRecruiting

  • Survival Impact of Internal Mammary or Supraclavicular Lymphadenectomy
    on August 13, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Conditions:   Ovarian Cancer Stage IV;   Lymph Node MetastasesIntervention:   Procedure: debulking surgerySponsor:   Seoul National University HospitalRecruiting

  • A Study to Evaluate ELU001 in Patients With Solid Tumors That Overexpress Folate Receptor Alpha (FRα)
    on August 11, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Conditions:   Ovarian Cancer;   Ovarian Neoplasms;   Ovarian Carcinoma;   Endometrial Cancer;   Colorectal Cancer;   Gastric Cancer;   Gastroesophageal Junction Adenocarcinoma;   Gastric Adenocarcinoma;   TNBC - Triple-Negative Breast Cancer;   Triple Negative Breast Cancer;   Cholangiocarcinoma;   Bile Duct Cancer;   Colon Cancer;   Colon Cancer Stage;   Colon Neoplasm;   Colon Adenocarcinoma;   Colon Rectal Cancer;   Colon Cancer Liver Metastasis;   Colorectal Neoplasms;   Colorectal Carcinoma;   Colorectal Adenocarcinoma;   Colorectal Cancer Metastatic;   Colorectal Cancer Stage IV;   Rectum Cancer;   Rectum Neoplasm;   Rectum Carcinoma;   Rectal Cancer;   Rectal Neoplasms;   Rectal Adenocarcinoma;   Rectal Cancer Stage;   Rectal Cancer Metastatic;   Rectal Cancer Stage III;   Esophagus Cancer;   Esophageal Cancer;   Esophageal Neoplasms;   Gastric Cancer Stage;   Breast Cancer;   Breast Neoplasm;   Breast Adenocarcinoma;   Breast Cancer Stage IV;   Breast Cancer Stage;   Breast Cancer Metastatic;   Breast Cancer Invasive;   Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms;   Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma;   Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma Recurrent;   Hilar Cholangiocarcinoma;   Distal Cholangiocarcinoma;   Ovary Cancer;   Ovary Neoplasm;   Ovary Disease;   Ovary Metastasis;   Ovarian Diseases;   Ovarian Cancer Stage;   Ovarian Epithelial Cancer;   Ovarian Adenocarcinoma;   Ovarian Serous Adenocarcinoma;   Ovarian Neoplasm Epithelial;   Ovarian Cancer Recurrent;   Endometrial Diseases;   Endometrial Adenocarcinoma;   Endometrial Carcinosarcoma;   Endometrial Clear Cell Adenocarcinoma;   Endometrioid Adenocarcinoma;   Endometrial Neoplasms;   Endometrial Cancer Recurrent;   Endometrioid Tumor;   Fallopian Tube Cancer;   Peritoneal CancerIntervention:   Drug: ELU001Sponsor:   Elucida OncologyRecruiting

  • A Study of AK112 Combined With PARP Inhibitor in the Treatment of Recurrent Ovarian Cancer
    on August 11, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Conditions:   Ovarian Neoplasms;   Recurrent Ovarian Carcinoma;   Relapsed Ovarian Cancer;   Ovarian CancerInterventions:   Drug: AK112 low dose;   Drug: AK112 medium dose;   Drug: AK112 high doseSponsor:   AkesoRecruiting

  • Study to Determine the Prevalence of Homologous Recombination Deficiency Among Women With Newly Diagnosed, High-grade, Serous or Endometrioid Ovarian, Primary Peritoneal, and/or Fallopian Tube Cancer
    on August 5, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Condition:   Fallopian Tube CancerIntervention:   Sponsor:   AstraZenecaRecruiting

  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy Predictive Value in Endometrial Cancer of Low and Intermediate Risk
    on July 22, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Conditions:   Endometrial Cancer;   Endometrial Neoplasms;   Endometrial Adenocarcinoma;   Endometrial Cancer Stage I;   Endometrial Cancer Stage II;   Endometrial Endometrioid Adenocarcinoma;   Sentinel Lymph Node;   Hysterectomy;   Laparoscopic HysterectomyIntervention:   Procedure: Laparoscopic hysterectomy with sentinel lymph node biopsySponsor:   Moscow City Oncology Hospital No. 62Recruiting

  • Liquid Biopsies for Improving the Pre-operative Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer
    on July 21, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Condition:   Ovarian NeoplasmsInterventions:   Diagnostic Test: ctDNA - circulating tumor DNA;   Diagnostic Test: TEP - Tumor Educated PlateletsSponsors:   The Netherlands Cancer Institute;   Leiden University Medical Center;   Catharina Ziekenhuis Eindhoven;   VU University Medical Center;   Delft Technical University;   Johns Hopkins University;   Amphia Hospital;   Reinier de Graaf Hospital, Delft;   Haga Hospital;   Academisch Medisch Centrum - Universiteit van Amsterdam (AMC-UvA)Recruiting

  • A Study Evaluating the Safety, Pharmacokinetics and Early Efficacy of AVA6000 in Solid Tumours
    on July 21, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Conditions:   Pancreatic Cancer;   Colorectal Cancer;   Non-small Cell Lung Cancer;   Breast Cancer;   Head and Neck Cancer;   Soft Tissue Sarcoma;   Ovarian Cancer;   Bladder CancerIntervention:   Drug: AVA6000Sponsor:   Avacta Life Sciences LtdRecruiting

  • Study of LY3537982 in Cancer Patients With a Specific Genetic Mutation (KRAS G12C)
    on July 9, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Conditions:   Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung;   Colorectal Neoplams;   Endometrial Neoplasms;   Ovarian Neoplasms;   Pancreatic NeoplasmsInterventions:   Drug: LY3537982;   Drug: Abemaciclib;   Drug: Erlotinib;   Drug: Sintilimab;   Drug: Temuterkib;   Drug: LY3295668;   Drug: CetuximabSponsors:   Eli Lilly and Company;   Loxo Oncology, Inc.Recruiting

  • Patient-Reported Outcomes Among Women Wtih Gynecological Cancer (The CONNECT Study)
    on June 30, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Conditions:   Gynecologic Cancer;   Gynecologic Neoplasm;   Ovarian Cancer;   Endometrial CancerIntervention:   Other: Nurse-led consultations based on electronic patient-reported outcomesSponsors:   Rigshospitalet, Denmark;   The Novo Nordic FoundationRecruiting

  • A Pilot, Single Dose, Open-Label Study of OTL38 Injection (OTL38) for Intra-Operative Imaging of Folate Receptor Positive Ovarian Cancer -Comparing Camera Imaging Systems
    on June 28, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Condition:   Ovarian CancerInterventions:   Drug: OTL38;   Device: intraoperative imaging camera systemSponsor:   Abramson Cancer Center of the University of PennsylvaniaRecruiting

Match to Ovarian Cancer Clinical Trials

  • Access to cutting-edge treatments
  • Latest clinical trials
  • Find trials in your area