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Ovarian cancer is a malignancy that originates in the ovaries. This type of cancer can affect the epithelial cells that cover the ovaries, the germ cells inside the ovaries or the stromal cells that hold the ovaries together. If ovarian cancer is left untreated, it may spread, or metastasize, to other areas of the body. Metastatic ovarian cancer most commonly spreads to the fluid around the lungs, spleen, liver, lungs or bones. When cancer spreads, the cancer cells in other areas of the body are identical to the ones that originated in the ovaries. Therefore, it is not considered a new or separate cancer case.

Symptoms of metastatic ovarian cancer

While early stages of ovarian cancer may only cause mild bloating and discomfort, or no symptoms at all, metastatic ovarian cancer has advanced to a point where most individuals will experience persistent symptoms. These may include:

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Pain or discomfort in the abdominal area
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Constipation
  • Kidney pain
  • Ascites (fluid buildup in the abdomen)

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to consult a physician to receive an accurate diagnosis. Many other conditions that are more common and less serious can cause similar symptoms, and medical testing is required to determine if cancer is the underlying cause.

Treatment for metastatic ovarian cancer

Metastatic ovarian cancer treatment may involve surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of more than one treatment. The best option for you will depend on many individual factors, including the size and location of the tumor, where the cancer has spread and your general health. At Moffitt Cancer Center, the multispecialty team that makes up our gynecological clinic collaborates to ensure each patient receives the ovarian cancer treatment that is right for her.

For more information on receiving diagnostic or treatment services for metastatic ovarian cancer at Moffitt, fill out a new patient registration form online or call 1-888-663-3488. New patients are welcome at Moffitt with or without a referral.