NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Ovarian Cancer, Version 1.2017
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
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