Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer begins in the ovaries. Ovaries are female reproductive organs that produce eggs and hormones, including estrogen and progesterone. Ovarian cancer affects roughly 22,400 women every year in the United States. When it is caught early, it can be effectively treated. Older women are more likely to get ovarian cancer. While it is the fifth most common cancer in women, its rates have been decreasing for over 20 years.

Treatment

The Gynecologic Oncology department at Penn State Cancer Institute provides comprehensive care for women with pelvic malignancies, including ovarian cancer. 

We are also a major site for the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored Gynecologic Oncology Group. This helps us deliver the latest advances in care. 

Our comprehensive services include:

  • Treating cancer, including vaginal, cervical, uterine, fallopian tube and ovarian cancers. Our expertise includes:
    • Chemotherapy
    • Investigational therapies
    • Collaborative treatment plans with local oncologists for chemotherapy, radiation and follow-up treatment
  • Evaluating and treating many gynecological conditions, including:
    • Vulva, vaginal or cervical dysplasia
    • Pelvic masses
    • Abnormal uterine bleeding
    • Endometrial hyperplasia
  • Gynecologic surgery, including medically compromised, or surgically challenging cases
  • Evaluating abnormal or difficult-to-read pap results
  • Second opinions

Care Team

You may see one or more of the following specialists for your cancer treatment.
Leah Cream, MD Leah Cream, MD Medical Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Jennifer Rosenberg, MD Jennifer Rosenberg, MD Radiation Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Marc Rovito, MD Marc Rovito, MD Hematology/Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Leonard Tuanquin, MD Leonard Tuanquin, MD Radiation Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Joshua Kesterson, MD Joshua Kesterson, MD View Researcher Profile
Rebecca Phaeton, MD Rebecca Phaeton, MD View Researcher Profile

Locations

Penn State Cancer Institute

Penn State Cancer Institute

400 University Dr
Hershey, PA 17033

Phone: 717-531-6585

Clinical Trials

CO-338-085: A Phase 2, Open-Label Study of Rucaparib in Patients with Locally Advanced or Metastatic Urothelial Carcinoma

Groups, Classes and Support

Support groups offer an opportunity to connect with other patients, caregivers and families. Learn more about support groups offered at Penn State Cancer Institute.

Prevention and Screening

Ovarian cancer can’t be prevented. It is still important to know your risk of developing ovarian cancer. Risk factors include:

  • Age - About half of all ovarian cancer is found in women over age 63. 
  • Weight - Being obese or extremely overweight may increase your risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  • Reproductive history - Women who became pregnant and carried it to full term after age 35 may be at higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  • Fertility drugs - Using clomid for more than one year may increase your risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  • Hormone therapy - Women who took estrogen without progesterone after menopause may be at a higher risk of ovarian cancer.
  • Family history - If a close family member had ovarian or breast cancer, you may be at a higher risk of ovarian cancer. Learn more about hereditary ovarian cancer. 

Screening

There are no routine screenings for ovarian cancer. You should, however, schedule an annual physical with a pelvic exam. This yearly appointment gives you the opportunity to touch base with your doctor, and gives your doctor the chance to identify and treat any issues that could affect your reproductive health.

Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer

Ignoring your family history with cancer isn't worth the risk. The Penn State Breast Center team can help you decrease your risk for developing breast or ovarian cancer.

It is important to keep in mind that true hereditary cancer is rare. In hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome (HBOCS), a "mutation" or change, in a single gene can be passed from either parent to a child. This inherited mutation can greatly increase a person's chance of developing breast, ovarian or other cancers.

Learning about your risk early may help you prevent cancer from occurring. It can also help you detect it early, when it is most treatable. Many women have found that understanding their inherited risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer provides a better opportunity - and additional options - to protect their health and the health of women in their family.

The Penn State Breast Center offers genetic consultation to help you understand your risk for HBOCS. If appropriate, genetic testing may be considered to determine if you have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene alteration. Our team provides support every step of the way, from an initial consult to reviewing results and discussing your options. 

What to expect

Our team of specialists meets with individuals to obtain a personal and family medical history. You will learn the significance of risk factors and the role genetics play in your cancer risk.

Then, you will be provided a detailed plan of care tailored to your specific risk level. Personal plans may include a schedule of periodic mammograms, physical exams, breast MRI, prophylactic surgery, or preventative anti-hormone therapy. Tamoxifen and exemestane have been shown to decrease breast cancer incidence in women at higher than average risk of breast cancer.

Cancer risk assessment

Cancer risk assessment and genetic counseling require confidential and personalized care by a team of specialists. Counseling sessions provide more information about your risk for breast and ovarian cancer.

Our cancer risk assessment includes:

  • A detailed family history evaluation
  • Personal risk assessment for breast and ovarian cancer
  • Genetic testing discussion (if needed) including risks, benefits and limitations
  • Complete review of personal screening and surveillance guidelines
  • Full written report from the patient's counseling sessions

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Ovarian cancer is cancer that starts in the ovaries. The ovaries are the female reproductive organs that produce eggs.

Symptoms

There are often no early signs of ovarian cancer. The American Cancer Society lists common symptoms of ovarian cancer as:

  • Feeling full quickly
  • Trouble urinating, including always feeling like you have to go or having to go often
  • Pelvic or stomach pain
  • Bloating

You should see a doctor if you have the symptoms listed above, or any other questions or concerns about your health.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask you detailed questions about your personal and family medical history, and do a complete exam to check for signs of ovarian cancer. Additional tests may also be ordered, including blood tests or an ultrasound.

If results from any of these tests or exams are unusual, you will be referred to a specialist called a gynecologic oncologist. The American Cancer Society states that research has shown that being treated by a gynecologic oncologist has been shown to help patients with ovarian cancer live longer.

Your gynecologic oncologist may order more tests to get a complete picture of your ovarian cancer. The information from these tests will help your doctor create a treatment plan that is right for you.

Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer begins in the ovaries. Ovaries are female reproductive organs that produce eggs and hormones, including estrogen and progesterone. Ovarian cancer affects roughly 22,400 women every year in the United States. When it is caught early, it can be effectively treated. Older women are more likely to get ovarian cancer. While it is the fifth most common cancer in women, its rates have been decreasing for over 20 years.

The Gynecologic Oncology department at Penn State Cancer Institute provides comprehensive care for women with pelvic malignancies, including ovarian cancer. 

We are also a major site for the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored Gynecologic Oncology Group. This helps us deliver the latest advances in care. 

Our comprehensive services include:

  • Treating cancer, including vaginal, cervical, uterine, fallopian tube and ovarian cancers. Our expertise includes:
    • Chemotherapy
    • Investigational therapies
    • Collaborative treatment plans with local oncologists for chemotherapy, radiation and follow-up treatment
  • Evaluating and treating many gynecological conditions, including:
    • Vulva, vaginal or cervical dysplasia
    • Pelvic masses
    • Abnormal uterine bleeding
    • Endometrial hyperplasia
  • Gynecologic surgery, including medically compromised, or surgically challenging cases
  • Evaluating abnormal or difficult-to-read pap results
  • Second opinions
You may see one or more of the following specialists for your cancer treatment.
Leah Cream, MD Leah Cream, MD Medical Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Jennifer Rosenberg, MD Jennifer Rosenberg, MD Radiation Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Marc Rovito, MD Marc Rovito, MD Hematology/Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Leonard Tuanquin, MD Leonard Tuanquin, MD Radiation Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Joshua Kesterson, MD Joshua Kesterson, MD View Researcher Profile
Rebecca Phaeton, MD Rebecca Phaeton, MD View Researcher Profile
Penn State Cancer Institute

Penn State Cancer Institute

400 University Dr
Hershey, PA 17033

Phone: 717-531-6585
CO-338-085: A Phase 2, Open-Label Study of Rucaparib in Patients with Locally Advanced or Metastatic Urothelial Carcinoma
Support groups offer an opportunity to connect with other patients, caregivers and families. Learn more about support groups offered at Penn State Cancer Institute.

Ovarian cancer can’t be prevented. It is still important to know your risk of developing ovarian cancer. Risk factors include:

  • Age - About half of all ovarian cancer is found in women over age 63. 
  • Weight - Being obese or extremely overweight may increase your risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  • Reproductive history - Women who became pregnant and carried it to full term after age 35 may be at higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  • Fertility drugs - Using clomid for more than one year may increase your risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  • Hormone therapy - Women who took estrogen without progesterone after menopause may be at a higher risk of ovarian cancer.
  • Family history - If a close family member had ovarian or breast cancer, you may be at a higher risk of ovarian cancer. Learn more about hereditary ovarian cancer. 

Screening

There are no routine screenings for ovarian cancer. You should, however, schedule an annual physical with a pelvic exam. This yearly appointment gives you the opportunity to touch base with your doctor, and gives your doctor the chance to identify and treat any issues that could affect your reproductive health.

Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer

Ignoring your family history with cancer isn't worth the risk. The Penn State Breast Center team can help you decrease your risk for developing breast or ovarian cancer.

It is important to keep in mind that true hereditary cancer is rare. In hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome (HBOCS), a "mutation" or change, in a single gene can be passed from either parent to a child. This inherited mutation can greatly increase a person's chance of developing breast, ovarian or other cancers.

Learning about your risk early may help you prevent cancer from occurring. It can also help you detect it early, when it is most treatable. Many women have found that understanding their inherited risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer provides a better opportunity - and additional options - to protect their health and the health of women in their family.

The Penn State Breast Center offers genetic consultation to help you understand your risk for HBOCS. If appropriate, genetic testing may be considered to determine if you have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene alteration. Our team provides support every step of the way, from an initial consult to reviewing results and discussing your options. 

What to expect

Our team of specialists meets with individuals to obtain a personal and family medical history. You will learn the significance of risk factors and the role genetics play in your cancer risk.

Then, you will be provided a detailed plan of care tailored to your specific risk level. Personal plans may include a schedule of periodic mammograms, physical exams, breast MRI, prophylactic surgery, or preventative anti-hormone therapy. Tamoxifen and exemestane have been shown to decrease breast cancer incidence in women at higher than average risk of breast cancer.

Cancer risk assessment

Cancer risk assessment and genetic counseling require confidential and personalized care by a team of specialists. Counseling sessions provide more information about your risk for breast and ovarian cancer.

Our cancer risk assessment includes:

  • A detailed family history evaluation
  • Personal risk assessment for breast and ovarian cancer
  • Genetic testing discussion (if needed) including risks, benefits and limitations
  • Complete review of personal screening and surveillance guidelines
  • Full written report from the patient's counseling sessions
Ovarian cancer is cancer that starts in the ovaries. The ovaries are the female reproductive organs that produce eggs.

Symptoms

There are often no early signs of ovarian cancer. The American Cancer Society lists common symptoms of ovarian cancer as:

  • Feeling full quickly
  • Trouble urinating, including always feeling like you have to go or having to go often
  • Pelvic or stomach pain
  • Bloating

You should see a doctor if you have the symptoms listed above, or any other questions or concerns about your health.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask you detailed questions about your personal and family medical history, and do a complete exam to check for signs of ovarian cancer. Additional tests may also be ordered, including blood tests or an ultrasound.

If results from any of these tests or exams are unusual, you will be referred to a specialist called a gynecologic oncologist. The American Cancer Society states that research has shown that being treated by a gynecologic oncologist has been shown to help patients with ovarian cancer live longer.

Your gynecologic oncologist may order more tests to get a complete picture of your ovarian cancer. The information from these tests will help your doctor create a treatment plan that is right for you.