What are Ovarian Tumors
Ovarian tumors are solid growths on the organs that produce eggs in women (ovaries). The ovaries are located on each side of the uterus. Tumors are different from ovarian cysts, which are filled with fluid.
Tumors can be cancerous or noncancerous. All solid tumors should be checked by a health care provider to make sure that they are not cancerous.
What are the causes?
The cause of this condition is not known.
What increases the risk?
This condition is more likely to develop in women who:
- Have gone through menopause.
- Are older than 50 years.
- Are of North American or Northern European descent.
- Have a personal or family history of endometrial, ovarian, colon, or breast cancer.
- Are obese.
- Carry either of the genes associated with breast cancer (BRCA1 or BRCA2).
- Use fertility medicines.
- Use estrogen after menopause.
- Are pregnant for the first time at age 30 or older.
- Have never carried a pregnancy to term.
- Have never been pregnant.
What are the signs or symptoms?
Noncancerous tumors may not cause any symptoms. Cancerous tumors may cause symptoms that are minor and resemble other health problems. Symptoms of cancerous ovarian tumors include:
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Increase in the size of the abdomen.
- Pain in the abdomen.
- Pain or pressure in the back or the area between the hip bones (pelvis).
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding.
- Loss of appetite.
- Frequent urination or pressure on your bladder.
- Indigestion, increased gas, and bloating.
- Pain during sex.
How is this diagnosed?
This condition may be diagnosed based on the results of:
- A pelvic examination.
- Blood tests.
- Imaging procedures such as ultrasound, X-ray, CT scan, or MRI.
- A biopsy. This is a test in which a small piece of tumor tissue is removed and examined under a microscope.
- Laparoscopy. This is a procedure in which a thin, lighted tube is inserted into a small incision in the lower abdomen and used to take images of your pelvic organs.
How is this treated?
If you have a noncancerous tumor, the most common treatment is surgery to remove the tumor.
If you have a cancerous tumor, treatment may include one or more of the following:
- Surgery to remove the tumor and ovary. In some cases, surgery may involve removing both ovaries, the fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix, and surrounding lymph nodes to check whether cancer has spread.
- Radiation therapy. This is the use of high-energy beams to kill cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy. This is the use of medicines to kill cancer cells.
- Hormone therapy.
- Targeted therapy. This means that treatment is aimed at specific cancer cells to avoid affecting normal cells.
Follow these instructions at home:
- Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your health care provider.
- Do not use any products that contain nicotine or tobacco, such as cigarettes and e-cigarettes. If you need help quitting, ask your health care provider.
- Return to your normal activities as told by your health care provider. Ask your health care provider what activities are safe for you.
- Have a yearly physical and gynecology exam. If you are 40 or older, this includes a pelvic exam.
- Keep all follow-up visits as told by your health care provider. This is important.
Contact a health care provider if:
- You are losing weight for no reason.
- You feel generally ill.
- You have changes in your bowel or bladder function.
Get help right away if:
- You have new or sudden symptoms that do not go away.
- Ovarian tumors are solid growths on the organs that produce eggs in women (ovaries). The ovaries are located on each side of the uterus.
- Noncancerous tumors may not cause any symptoms. Cancerous tumors may cause symptoms that are minor and resemble other health problems.
- If you have a noncancerous tumor, the most common treatment is surgery to remove the tumor.
- A cancerous tumor may be treated with surgery. Chemotherapy, targeted therapy, radiation therapy or a combination of these therapies may also be recommended.
- Get help right away if you have new or sudden symptoms that do not go away.