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Ovarian Cancer: Home

What Is Ovarian Cancer?

The body is made up of many types of cells. Normally, cells grow, divide, and produce more cells as needed to keep the body healthy and functioning properly. Sometimes, however, the process goes wrong and cells become abnormal, forming more cells in an uncontrolled way. These extra cells form a mass of tissue, called a growth or tumor. 

Ovarian cancer forms in tissues of the ovary. An ovary is one of a pair of female reproductive glands in which the ova, or eggs, are formed. Tumors in the ovaries can be benign, which means they are not cancer, or they can be malignant, which means they are cancer. Cancers that start in the ovaries can spread to other parts of the body. This is called metastasis. Cancer that starts in the ovaries and spreads to other parts of the body is still called ovarian cancer.

Around one in every 60 women in the United States will develop ovarian cancer. Most ovarian cancers are diagnosed in women over 60, but this disease can also affect younger women. Women with a high risk of ovarian cancer are those with a harmful mutation on the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. These mutations can be found with a blood test. Women with a family or personal history of breast or ovarian cancer also have a higher risk of ovarian cancer.

To diagnose ovarian cancer, doctors do one or more tests. They include a physical exam, a pelvic exam, lab tests, ultrasound, or a biopsy. Treatment is usually surgery followed by chemotherapy.

Source: Womenshealth.gov - Ovarian Cancer Fact Sheet
Image source: Womenshealth.gov

Helpful Websites

Video

Cancer.Net - Ovarian Cancer – An Introduction, with Dr. Paul Sabbatini

In this video, Dr. Paul Sabbatini gives an overview of ovarian cancer, including outlining new areas of research about its treatment.

 

Ovarian cancer: Mayo Clinic Radio

Dr. Kristina Butler, a Mayo Clinic gynecologic oncologist, discusses diagnosing and treatment options for ovarian cancer.

Books at the Cancer Resource Library

Supportive Care Programs at the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center

The Elly Nadel Music Therapy Program provides music therapy services and support to cancer patients, family members and loved ones in a way that meets physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs in a one-on-one or group setting. Activities include listening to music, using instruments, improvisation, songwriting, singing and more.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all classes are currently being offered online via Zoom. For more information, see the Cancer Center Calendar or call (805) 879-5654. 

The Oncology Dietitian Nutritionists at the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center provide evidence-based recommendations that are proven by scientific research and clinical experience. Education and support are provided to help prevent treatment delays and decrease side effects from treatment. Once treatment for cancer is complete, our nutrition experts can recommend personalized food choices that will support treatment outcomes, enhance the quality of life, and decrease the risk of disease recurrence. Monthly seminars provide an opportunity to discuss the most recent research related to cancer, foods and your lifestyle. Services are offered free-of-charge to individuals currently in treatment or within one year of their last treatment.

For more information, visit the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center website or call (805) 879-5652. 

The Ridley-Tree Cancer Center provides Patient Navigation services in order to assist patients on the journey to live with, through, and beyond cancer. Navigators serve as a liaison between individual patients and the various healthcare providers required for proper diagnosis, treatment, and disease management.

Navigators offer coordination of care throughout a cancer patient's experience, by:

  • Explaining medical procedures and providing cancer information
  • Ensuring medical appointments are scheduled and kept
  • Coordinating and streamlining insurance information
  • Identifying local resources and appropriate support
  • Enhancing communication between care providers

Navigation is available per physician referral and is offered free-of-charge. For more information, contact the Patient Navigation department at (805) 879-0660 or navigator@ridleytreecc.org.

At the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center’s Resource Library, we aim to empower anyone touched by cancer with the knowledge they need to become well-informed partners in their healthcare. The Resource Library offers a comfortable place where patients and families can find current, comprehensive information about all aspects of cancer. Services include research assistance, a lending library and online information guides. The Resource Library is open to all and services are offered at no charge.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Resource Library is currently closed to visitors. Library materials and services are still available via mail, phone and email. For more information, visit the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center website or contact the Resource Library at (805) 879-5648 or library@ridleytreecc.org.

Cancer can involve significant psychological, social, and economic challenges for patients and their families. How and if these challenges are addressed is an important aspect of a patient’s care plan. The Ridley-Tree Cancer Center employs clinical social workers who provide emotional and practical support for patients, their families, and their friends. Oncology Social Workers can provide advocacy and referrals as well as individual and family counseling services.

Services are available at no cost and are available to anyone in our community, regardless of where they are receiving medical care. 

For more information, visit the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center website or call (805) 879-5690.  

A wide range of wellness activities, classes and programs are available to our patients and their caregivers. Programs include yoga, exercise programs, painting, flower arranging, meditation and more. Upcoming dates can be found on the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center online calendar.

Programs offered free-of-charge. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Wellness classes are currently being offered online via Zoom. For more information including who qualifies for Ridley-Tree Cancer Center Wellness Programs & Classes and class descriptions, visit the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center website or call (805) 879-5678. 

Support Group

Gynecological Cancer Support Group

This group provides a safe place where women can share their experiences and exchange information about gynecological cancers.

Schedule: 2nd Tuesday of each month, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

This program is offered free-of-charge and is facilitated by professional staff. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, support groups are currently meeting online via Zoom. For more information including how to register, see the Cancer Center calendar or email Rosario Campuzano-Cortez at rcampuza@ridleytreecc.org

Resources provided by the Cancer Resource Library are for informational purposes only. The information in these materials may or may not apply to your specific condition, and should not be construed as medical advice. We strongly encourage you to consult your healthcare provider to review anything you learn through these resources.

Ridley-Tree Cancer Center provides comprehensive cancer treatment and support programs for patients and families. We are recognized for medical excellence, a strong clinical research program, and a multidisciplinary approach to cancer prevention.

Cancer Resource Library | 540 West Pueblo Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93105 | (805) 563-5807 | library@ridleytreecc.org | www.ridleytreecc.org