Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can ovarian cancer spread to other parts of my reproductive system?"
If so, which parts? Does it depend on how quickly I catch it?
Ovarian cancer is a serious medical condition. This requires rapid and definitive attention by your doctor team. You will likely benefit from seeing a doctor who specializes in this disease -- known as a gynecologic oncologist. These doctor can help with surgery (if needed) as well as medical (chemotherapy). Cancers are made of cells that grow uncontrollably. If these cells are particularly fast growing -- they can spread to other parts of the body. This spreading is known as metastasis. In general, when a cancer metastasizes it becomes much more difficult to treat -- so it is important to catch it before then. Different types of tumors (and there are many different types of ovarian cancer) are more or less likely to spread. This really depends on the nature of the uncontrolled cell. In general, metastasis occurs by three pathways. (1) Direct invasion -- this is where the tumor moves to the nearest neighbor. This is rare with ovarian cancer. (2) Lymphatic spread and (3) Spread through the blood. Ovarian cancer can go through the latter two -- so often it metastasizes to lymph nodes, liver or lung. It is rare that it goes to other parts of the reproductive system (like the uterus). Ovarian cancer is a serious condition -- talk to your doctor for more information.
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