What is Ovarian Cancer

Dr. Beth Donaldson, MD, discusses ovarian cancer in women.

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Dr. Beth Donaldson, MD, discusses ovarian cancer in women.
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Beth Donaldson, MD

What is Ovarian Cancer Duration: 1 minute, 52 seconds

Ovarian cancer is cancer of the ovaries - it could be in one or two ovaries - that occurs in women and there's a 1.5% lifetime risk of women actually getting it.

The ovaries are small parts of a woman's reproductive system. The ovaries make estrogen and progesterone, and also release eggs. Ovarian cancers begin in the cells, which grow abnormally and become a mass of tissue. Ovarian cancer can also spread to other parts of the body, which is why it's essential for it to be found early.

In order for physicians to help women screen for ovarian cancer, they're able to do a yearly exam on women. This is a yearly physical exam of the ovaries and uterus; that's the most important one for women. There are a couple of other ways to screen for ovarian cancer, such as routine ultrasound, that haven't actually been shown to be effective.

CA 125 can be helpful to follow a woman who's already been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. But it's actually not helpful from a screening point of view, so it isn't recommended.

Ways to prevent ovarian cancer go back to regular healthy lifestyle choices, including limiting alcohol to seven to nine drinks per week, getting enough exercise, eating well, and keeping your weight at a healthy level. Women need to check in with their physician on a yearly basis. They need to stay as healthy as possible in every way, and if they notice anything irregular with their symptoms they should consult their physician immediately.

If you have questions about ovarian cancer, contact a local physician or gynecologist.

Presenter: Dr. Beth Donaldson, Family Doctor, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Family Doctor

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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