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September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, which makes this a good time to learn about your risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer accounts for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system and ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society. More than 19,000 new cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year, and nearly 13,000 women will die of the disease.
Ovarian cancer is a growth of cells that forms in the ovaries. The cells multiply quickly and can invade and destroy healthy body tissue.
The type of cell where cancer begins determines the type of ovarian cancer that develops and determines which treatments are best.
Ovarian cancer types include:
When ovarian cancer first develops, it may not cause any symptoms. When symptoms are noticeable, they're often attributed to other more common conditions.
Signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer can include:
It's not clear what causes ovarian cancer, although health care professionals have identified factors that can increase the risk of the disease.
Factors that can increase your risk of ovarian cancer include:
Treatment for ovarian cancer usually involves a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. Other treatments, including targeted drug therapy, hormone therapy and immunotherapy, may be used in certain situations.
Connect with others like you in the Gynecologic Cancers support group on Mayo Clinic Connect, an online patient community moderated by Mayo Clinic.
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