Ovarian Cancer Treatment Options by Leading Gynecologic Oncologists

 

The ovaries are the female reproductive glands. When cells in the ovaries grow abnormally tumors form and can be cancerous or non-cancerous. This video shows how ovarian cancer develops and can spread throughout the body.

Mercy is proud to be among a small number of hospitals in the nation with a dedicated Ovarian Cancer Institute. Our National Center of Excellence brings together medical experts, advanced technologies and new research to provide a higher standard of patient care, focused solely on treating ovarian disease.

Dr. Dwight Im, Dr. Neil Rosenshein, Dr. Teresa Diaz-Montes and Dr. Hyung Ryu understand the intricacies of ovarian cancer and the effect it has on women's overall health and well-being. Women in Baltimore and across the Mid-Atlantic region have turned to Mercy's gynecologic oncologists for their compassionate care and expert surgical skills, including traditional and robotic surgery options.

About the Condition

Ovarian cancer traditionally has been thought to begin in one or both of the ovaries. Current research is suggesting that ovarian cancer actually may begin in the fallopian tubes; however, researchers are continuing to investigate this theory.

The ovaries are the female reproductive glands that consist of three types of cells:

  • Epithelial cells cover the ovaries
  • Germ cells are inside the ovaries and develop into eggs for reproduction
  • Stromal cells form the structural tissue of the ovaries and produce hormones

When these cells in the ovaries grow abnormally, they develop into tumors that either can be non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). If cancerous tumors are not detected early, they can spread from the ovaries throughout the pelvic region as well as continue to spread to the abdominal area and other organs. The most common form of ovarian cancer begins in the epithelial cells.

Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer

Risk factors for ovarian cancer can include:

  • Genetic predisposition
    • BRCA 1 or 2 (BReast CAncer) gene mutation
    • Lynch syndrome
  • Family history of ovarian cancer or breast cancer in a:
    • First degree relative (parent, sibling or child)
    • Second degree relative (aunt/uncle, grandparent, niece/nephew or grandchild
  NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Ovarian Cancer Symptoms

A standard test for ovarian cancer does not exist, making it difficult to detect ovarian cancer in its early stages. Symptoms of ovarian cancer can be similar to other medical conditions and often are overlooked as possible cancer symptoms. Symptoms of ovarian cancer can include:

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Abdominal pressure
  • Unintentional weight changes, especially weight gain
  • Pelvic pain or pain during intercourse
  • Urinary frequency without an infection
  • Nausea, indigestion, constipation or diarrhea

Should ovarian cancer be suspected, the gynecologic oncologists perform ultrasounds and blood tests prior to the surgical removal of the ovarian cancer.

Stages of Ovarian Cancer

The Gynecologic Oncology Center at Mercy has some of the Baltimore region's top doctors for determining the stages of ovarian cancer. Determining the stage of ovarian cancer is essential in developing an ovarian cancer treatment plan. The stages of ovarian cancer are:

  • Stage I - ovarian cancer is in one or both of the ovaries
  • Stage II - ovarian cancer extends to the pelvis area
  • Stage III - ovarian cancer extends to the abdominal area
  • Stage IV - ovarian cancer extends to locations outside the abdominal area

NEXT: Treatment Options ›
Treatment Options

Ovarian cancer treatment typically includes surgery and chemotherapy. The stage of ovarian cancer dictates the extent of the surgery needed to remove the ovarian cancer. Stage I ovarian cancer may involve the removal of just one ovary while Stage IV ovarian cancer may involve the removal of ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus, as well as lymph nodes, abdominal tissues, and other areas to which the ovarian cancer may have spread. The doctors of The Gynecologic Oncology Center at Mercy are skilled at removing ovarian cancer at any stage, guided by their extensive expertise and carefully-honed surgical skills.

NEXT: Patient Stories ›
Patient Stories
Patient receives treatment for cancer at Mercy

Mary Jo

A mother gets her life back after traveling from Virginia to Mercy for surgery to treat severe endometriosis and an ovarian mass. 

Ovarian Cancer Institute at Mercy - Baltimore

Ellen

Recommendations from friends led this ovarian cancer survivor to Mercy, where she beat cancer and lives to share her experience with others.

Patient receives treatment for cancer at Mercy

Margaret

An optimistic retiree shares her encounter with ovarian cancer after being treated at The Gynecologic Oncology Center at Mercy.

Surgical Oncology at Mercy - Baltimore, MD

Susan

Susan, a longtime journalist, had plenty of practice making sense of complicated issues within a short time period. When faced with her own ovarian cancer diagnosis she drew on past experience to seek out the top experts and the best treatment options.

Ovarian Cancer Institute at Mercy - Baltimore

Connie

Meet Connie: a mother and grandmother who came to Mercy for ovarian cancer treatment.