Ovarian cancer


A woman’s risk of getting ovarian cancer during her lifetime is about 1 in 78, according to the American Cancer Society. This cancer mainly develops in older women.

Ovarian Cancer begins in the woman’s ovaries. The ovaries produce eggs and hormones including estrogen and progesterone. Our team at the john Wayne Cancer Institute understands that personalized care is top of the list when we diagnose and treat ovarian cancer.

Ovarian Cancer 101 Webinar

Watch our recorded webinar, Ovarian Cancer 101, to learn about the common signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, and the most advanced treatments, so you can take control of your health.


Causes of Ovarian cancer

  • Eight out of ten ovarian cancers occur sporadically, meaning it is not inherited.
  • 20% is related to a genetic mutation, like BRCA, which can be tested for if you have a strong family history.

In both cases, prevention combines mainstream medical options like oral contraceptives as well as integrative lifestyle choices including exercise, nutrition, and toxin avoidance.

3D illustration of DNA
Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

Some of the symptoms of ovarian cancer can often be confused with non-cancerous conditions. It is important to follow up with your gynecologist if you feel these symptoms are worsening

  • Persistent abdominal bloating and nausea
  • Loss of appetite or feeling fuller faster
  • Pressure in the pelvis or lower back
  • Frequent or urgent urination
  • Changes in bowl movements
  • Changes in menstruation

Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is most often detected in later stages by biopsy of tissue or fluid. A pelvic exam, CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis, as well as a CA 125 blood test are ways to help in diagnosing ovarian cancer.

working with CT scan
Risk Factors

Risk Factors of Ovarian Cancer

A woman is at an increased risk if she:

  • Has family history or personal history of cancer or endometriosis
  • The BRCA1 & BRCA2 genetic mutation
  • Started menstruating at an early age (before 12)
  • Has never given birth
  • Had her first child after 30
  • Experienced menopause after 50
  • Never took oral contraceptives
  • Infertility
  • Is obese
  • Has had hormone replacement therapy

Our integrative approach to cancer care employs the fundamental of functional medicine analysis in order to assess for root cause of ovarian cancer, whether there is a inherited genetic component or environmental in origin. The “environment” includes lifestyle choices, inclusive of personal habits, nutrition, toxin exposure and exercise routine. This forms the basis for diagnosis towards functional integrative holistic treatment involving mainstream 21 century treatment and natural support and cancer-fighting health optimization.


Treatment of Ovarian Cancer

You may receive more than one type of treatment, depending on several factors, including the grade of the tumor, where it is located and whether it has spread to other parts of your body.

Before we set up a specific treatment plan for your ovarian cancer we will take the following into account:

  • Your age, overall health and medical history
  • The extent of the disease
  • Your tolerance of specific medicines, procedures or therapies
  • Expectations for the course of the disease
  • Your opinion or preference

We will sit with you and discuss the options available so that you can be as informed as possible when making the decision.

Treatment typically included surgery, chemotherapy, biological therapies or a combination of these depending on the stage. Surgical intervention at the Saint John’s Cancer Institute utilizes cutting-edge robotic-assisted technology. Fertility-sparing surgery is available under certain circumstances.

Follow Up

Follow up for ovarian cancer patients include repeat pelvic exams, labs and imaging as needed.

When to See Your Provider

Submit an online appointment request or call 310-829-8402 with a doctor if you have any persistent signs and symptoms that concern you.