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Ovarian cancer

What is it?

Ovarian cancer is cancer that begins in the ovaries. In people with this type of cancer, cells that are not normal grow in the ovaries. These cells form a tumour, which is a mass of tissue. Tumours can grow and spread through the body.

Ovarian cancer is more common in women who have gone through menopause. People who have a family member who has had this type of cancer are more likely to get it. Those with the HNPCC or BRCA gene mutations also have a higher risk.

Surgery is the main form of treatment and aims to remove the cancer cells. Treatment can help improve your health and lifestyle.

  • Common Symptoms

  • Bloating

  • Pain

  • Not feeling hungry

  • Not wanting to eat

  • Feeling full quickly

  • Weeing often


What will my GP do now?

Your GP may help you to learn more about your cancer. They may also ask you about your symptoms (See ‘Common symptoms’). Your GP may refer you to a specialist for more tests and treatment. Treatment depends on the stage of the cancer, its size and if it has spread.

If you need treatment, you will be managed by a healthcare team. Your GP will play a key role in your care and health check-ups. Your GP may also help you find supports if you are feeling scared or anxious.


What will my GP do in the future?

Your GP may check in with you often to see how you’re going. They may stay up to date with your progress and help manage your future care plan. After your treatment program, your GP may contact you to keep an eye on your symptoms and make sure you are feeling better.


What can I do?

There are no steps that can prevent ovarian cancer. But living a healthy life helps you to reduce your risk factors.

Be sure to:

• Eat a healthy diet
• Keep your blood pressure within the normal range
• Limit drinking and quit smoking
• Maintain a healthy weight
• Get eight hours of sleep each night
• Reduce stress
• Have check-ups with your GP

Talk to your GP about how often you should have check-ups after your treatment. Ask your GP what you should do if you have side effects or are feeling worse.

What supports are available?

  • SWSLHD Gynae-Oncology Clinics

    As most ovarian cysts are harmless, your GP will be the main support for treatment. However if further assessment is needed, South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) has gynae-oncology clinics at Liverpool and Campbelltown hospitals.

Where can I learn more?

  • Health Translations - Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer

    Translated factsheets about ovarian cancer.

  • The Royal Women's Hospital – Ovarian cancer

    A factsheet about ovarian cancer.

  • Office on womens health

    Information about ovarian cysts

  • Ovarian Cancer Australia

    Ovarian Cancer Australia is an independent national not-for-profit organisation, supporting women diagnosed with ovarian cancer. 

Important: This information is to be viewed by someone who has received a diagnosis from their doctor. It is not designed to be used to diagnose a condition or as a substitute for ongoing medical care.

Health Resource Directory factsheets are endorsed by South Western Sydney PHN’s Community Advisory Committee and local GPs

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