Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

By: Betsy Hansen

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Did you know Pap tests cannot detect ovarian cancer? That's why annual pelvic exams are so important - especially if you have a family history of ovarian cancer or symptoms of ovarian cancer. As September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, let's learn more.


Indicators of ovarian cancer can include an irregular menstrual cycle, bloating, indigestion, feeling full quickly when eating and frequent urination. Know that these symptoms may also be indicators for other ailments such as irritable bowel syndrome or urinary tract infections, but if they persist daily for at least two weeks, you should see your doctor.


Types of ovarian cancer


Surprisingly there are two forms of ovarian cancer most often found in women in their earlier 20s.The first, germ cell carcinoma, is where a tumor grows in the cells that form eggs. Although this is most common in young women, it only makes up about 5 percent of all ovarian cancer cases. The second is small cell carcinoma of the ovary and is very rare. This cancer is a malignant tumor and makes up about 0.1 percent of all cases.


Epithelial tumors account for approximately 90 percent of ovarian cancers – and are most common in postmenopausal women.


Stromal carcinoma tumors develop in the tissue cells that keep the ovary together and that produce estrogen and progesterone. This type makes up 5 percent of cases.




Ovarian cancer treatments demand special attention. That kind of attention should come from a gynecologic oncologist – a specialist who is trained to provide comprehensive care for women with cancers that originate in the reproductive organs, like ovarian cancer.


BayCare Clinic gynecologic oncologist Dr. Peter R. Johnson is a compassionate, caring physician with extensive training and skills. In addition to his Gynecologic Oncology fellowship at the University of Minnesota, he completed two years of cancer research at the Center of Disease Control in Atlanta. On top of this, Dr. Johnson is the first surgeon to perform robotic assisted gynecologic surgery in Wisconsin and is a nationally known instructor for robotic surgery. Watch him explain his patient care philosophy here.


If you have a family history or have ongoing symptoms of ovarian cancer, it’s advised to talk to your doctor and receive a thorough examination.

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BayCare Clinic,, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.