Ovarian Cancer

Our gynecologic (GYN) oncologists provide diagnosis, advanced treatment, and support for women with ovarian cancer.

Two women walking in nature.

Ovarian cancer is often called a "silent killer" because it can develop with few to no symptoms until it progresses to an advanced stage. Our GYN oncologists partner with you and your support team to ensure you understand your cancer diagnosis and treatment options.

Ovarian Cancer Symptoms and Risks

Ovarian cancer is cancer that originates in the ovaries. In its early stages, ovarian cancer has few symptoms, so knowing your body and how you usually feel is essential. 

You're more likely to experience any of the following symptoms if ovarian cancer has spread: 

  • Pelvic or abdominal pain or pressure
  • Bloating
  • Urinary frequency or urgency (need to pee urgently or often)
  • Difficulty with or feeling full quickly after eating

What are your ovarian cancer risk factors?

Your risk factors can determine how likely you are to develop ovarian cancer. Like risks for other diseases, some can be controlled, and others can't. It's important to know your risk factors to discuss them with your doctor and determine if you can lower your risk.

Non-genetic risk factors

  • Age is the most common risk factor, as two-thirds of ovarian cancer cases occur in women ages 55 and older 
  • Obesity (measured as a BMI greater than 30) 
  • A prior uterine, colon, or breast cancer diagnosis

Genetic risk factors

Many genes can significantly increase your risk for ovarian cancer, including, but not limited to, BRCA1 and BRCA2.

Since there's no screening tool for ovarian cancer, knowing your family history is vital.

  • If you have a first-degree relative (parent, sibling, child) with ovarian cancer, your risk increases to 1 in 20 from about 1 in 70 (the risk for the general population).
  • If a family member had a type of colon cancer called HNPCC (or Lynch syndrome), your risk increases to almost 1 in 10.

If you have a concern, consult a genetic counselor to determine if you have specific known genetic markers.

 

Types of Ovarian Cancer

 

Epithelial carcinoma

This type of ovarian cancer begins in cells on the outer surface of the ovary. Epithelial carcinoma makes up about 90% of ovarian cancers.

Germ cell tumor

This type of cancer develops in the egg-producing cells of the ovaries.

Stromal tumor

A rare form of ovarian cancer, it develops in the connective tissue cells that hold the ovaries together and produce female hormones.

Ovarian Cancer Treatment at Virtua

After diagnosis, your care team, led by your GYN oncologist, works with you to explain your treatment options and the risks and benefits of those options. 

Your care team may also include a medical oncologist, oncology nurse navigator, and other clinicians who will support you before, during, and after treatment. Depending on the type, grade, and stage of ovarian cancer, your plan may include a combination of treatments, such as:

Surgery

Surgery is the most common treatment to remove ovarian cancer. It may include:

  • Open (abdominal) radical hysterectomy, removing the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.
  • Lymph node removal with or without sentinel lymph node mapping to identify and test specific lymph nodes for cancer cells. If there's no cancer in the sentinel nodes, no other lymph nodes are removed.
  • Tumor debulking to remove cancer that has spread within the abdomen.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy destroys cancer cells that may have spread throughout the body. 

Targeted biological therapy

Targeted therapy is a treatment that uses drugs or other substances that target the growth or spread of certain cancers. 

Clinical trials

Clinical trials are used to test new cancer treatment regimens. The National Cancer Institute provides updates on ovarian cancer research and clinical trials, including information on prevention and treatment.

Virtua GYN Oncology Providers

Virtua's GYN oncologists are highly skilled surgeons who diagnose and treat ovarian, cervical, endometrial, uterine, vulvar, and other GYN cancers. 

The Virtua Difference for Ovarian Cancer Care

Highly rated patient care

In patient satisfaction surveys, our GYN oncology team averages the highest ratings for their care. The team is recognized for being welcoming, caring, compassionate, patient, knowledgeable, and attentive to patients' needs. 

Highly rated patient care

In patient satisfaction surveys, our GYN oncology team averages the highest ratings for their care. The team is recognized for being welcoming, caring, compassionate, patient, knowledgeable, and attentive to patients' needs. 

The strength and resources of the Penn Medicine | Virtua Health Cancer Program

Fellowship-trained, board-certified GYN oncologists lead a team that includes medical and radiation oncologists, oncology nurse navigators, social workers, and genetic counselors—all specializing in gynecologic cancer care. And our caring cancer support network is here to help you feel your best through treatment and help you navigate the changes you might experience during treatment.

The strength and resources of the Penn Medicine | Virtua Health Cancer Program

Fellowship-trained, board-certified GYN oncologists lead a team that includes medical and radiation oncologists, oncology nurse navigators, social workers, and genetic counselors—all specializing in gynecologic cancer care. And our caring cancer support network is here to help you feel your best through treatment and help you navigate the changes you might experience during treatment.

Dedicated oncology nurse navigation

Your nurse navigator provides personalized support before, during, and after cancer treatment to help you understand your diagnosis, streamline communications and scheduling, and connect you to support services.

Dedicated oncology nurse navigation

Your nurse navigator provides personalized support before, during, and after cancer treatment to help you understand your diagnosis, streamline communications and scheduling, and connect you to support services.

Cancer clinical trials

We're constantly working to improve treatments through clinical trials. If you choose to participate in a trial, you may have access to a promising new therapy before it's widely available. We lead studies on immunotherapy drugs that attack the cancer cells in your body. And we investigate medications that target specific genetic mutations associated with several cancers.

Cancer clinical trials

We're constantly working to improve treatments through clinical trials. If you choose to participate in a trial, you may have access to a promising new therapy before it's widely available. We lead studies on immunotherapy drugs that attack the cancer cells in your body. And we investigate medications that target specific genetic mutations associated with several cancers.

Experienced pelvic heath specialists

Urinary incontinence and pain with sex are common in women with gynecologic cancer. We can connect you with Virtua's female pelvic medicine team, who can help you return to optimal function, comfort, and activity. In addition, our sexual wellness and pelvic health experts provide specialized care to support your physical and emotional health and help restore your sexual well-being.

Experienced pelvic heath specialists

Urinary incontinence and pain with sex are common in women with gynecologic cancer. We can connect you with Virtua's female pelvic medicine team, who can help you return to optimal function, comfort, and activity. In addition, our sexual wellness and pelvic health experts provide specialized care to support your physical and emotional health and help restore your sexual well-being.

Virtua GYN Oncology Locations

We see patients in Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester Counties.  

Schedule an appointment

Schedule an appointment with a Virtua GYN oncologist.