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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Ovarian Cancer, Version 1.2017


Ovarian cancer

Symptoms | Review

The uncontrolled growth, invasion, and spread of

cancer cells makes cancer dangerous. But, LMP

tumors are less dangerous than other forms of

epithelial ovarian cancer. This is because LMP

tumors grow on the surface of organs and rarely

grow into (invade) normal tissue.


One way to find ovarian cancer early is to know

the symptoms of the cancer. Symptoms are health

problems that you report to your doctor. Doctors

have outlined a set of symptoms that are often seen

in women with ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer may

cause certain symptoms early or as it grows larger.

The most common symptoms of ovarian cancer




Feeling bloated



Pain in the pelvis or belly (abdomen)



Trouble eating or feeling full fast



Feeling the need to urinate often or urgently

These symptoms can also be caused by many other

common health conditions. But, ovarian cancer is

more likely to be the cause of these symptoms if they




New and began less than 1 year ago



Frequent and occur more than 12 days each


If this describes you, tell your doctor about your

symptoms. However, ovarian cancer does not

always cause symptoms. Or, ovarian cancer may not

cause symptoms until it has grown very large or has


Your doctor may also think you have ovarian cancer

based on certain signs. Signs of ovarian cancer

include feeling a mass in your pelvis or fluid buildup

in your abdomen. Your doctor may feel a mass in

your pelvis because of a tumor or enlarged ovary.

Ovarian cancer can also cause excess fluid buildup

(ascites) in your pelvis and abdomen. This can

cause swelling and make your abdomen look or feel


Your doctor may suspect ovarian cancer based on

these signs and symptoms. But, many other health

conditions could be the cause. Therefore, your doctor

will give more tests and exams to confirm or rule out

ovarian cancer. This is described next in Part 2.




The ovaries are a pair of organs that make

eggs for reproduction (making babies). They

also make hormones.



Ovarian cancer often starts in the cells that form

the outer layer of tissue around the ovaries.

This is called epithelial ovarian cancer.



Borderline epithelial tumors (LMP [






otential] also start in the epithelial




Cancer cells form a tumor since they don’t die

as they should.



Cancer cells can break away from the first

(primary) tumor and spread to other tissues and

organs in the body (metastasis).



Ovarian cancer may cause symptoms such

as: feeling bloated, pain in the belly or pelvis,

trouble eating, and needing to urinate often or