Ovarian, fallopian tube and primary peritoneal cancer

We are here to help you if you or your loved one has ovarian or fallopian tube cancer

Cancer Education

Ovarian and fallopian tube cancers happen in the ovaries or fallopian tubes. These are in the female reproductive system. There are two ovaries, one on each side of the uterus, that produce eggs and female hormones. Each ovary joins to the uterus by a fallopian tube. The egg produced monthly by one of your ovaries, travels through the fallopian tube to the uterus. 

Ovarian cancer is a malignant (cancer) tumour in one or both ovaries. A common ovarian cancer starts in the ovary's surface, known as epithelium. Sometimes ovarian cancer can start in the fallopian tube(s) and spread to the ovary. 

There are many types of ovarian cancer, and we call each one after the cell in which it starts. 

The most common type of ovarian cancer is serous papillary. Other types include: 

  • endometroid 

  • clear cell 

  • mucinous carcinoma. 

It is hard to notice the early signs of ovarian cancer. Some signs or symptoms of ovarian cancer can include: 

  • abdominal (belly, tummy) bloating or swelling 

  • weight loss 

  • lack of appetite 

  • a sudden feeling of being full after eating 

  • change in periods (menstruation) 

  • bleeding between periods 

  • change in toileting such as constipation or diarrhoea 

  • often feel the need to urinate (pee). 

These symptoms can also be due to other less serious conditions. These conditions can include digestive (stomach) problems, constipation, ageing or an irritable bowel. 

Only a doctor can tell if you have ovarian cancer. If you have any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, you should see your GP (General Practitioner). 

Your first tests for diagnosis 

The early stages of ovarian cancer may go unnoticed. 

Our experts will work with you to find out more about the ovarian cancer. They will also support you through a medical examination and other key tests such as: 

  • pelvic exam 

  • vaginal ultrasound (internal/inside) 

  • pathology (blood tests) 

  • imaging (scans and x-rays) 

  • scope (using a small camera to look inside) 

  • biopsy. 


We provide you with the best testing and treatment for ovarian cancer. 

We will design and supply a diagnosis and treatment plan. This will be one that best responds to your condition and individual needs. 

To diagnose ovarian cancer, we may: 

  • Conduct an internal and external pelvic exam by palpitation (by touch). 

  • Conduct a laparoscopy. This is a simple daily procedure to see and examine the abdomen and pelvic area. It involves a small magnifying instrument/camera. 

  • Perform an internal ultrasound to view the area. 

  • Take x-rays, CT (Computed Tomography) and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans. We may also take MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans. We will do this to show the exact size and place of the cancer. 

  • Blood tests for ovarian cancer cell signs also called markers. 

  • Blood tests to check for inherited family genes that they may have passed onto you. 

  • Perform a biopsy, which is a small sample of cells or piece of tissue from the affected area. 

The results from these tests will also help us understand how developed your cancer is. If there is ovarian cancer, we will find out its stage. Staging is a way to describe or label how far the disease has spread. This will help guide your best treatment plan. 

Focusing on your ovarian, fallopian tube and primary peritoneal cancer treatment 

Your treating team will discuss and develop the best treatment plan for you. Treatments will depend on your diagnosis. 

Ovarian cancer treatment will depend on: 

  • the type of disease it is 

  • whether it has spread and how far (its stage) 

  • your general health and wellbeing 

  • your needs. 

We will develop the most effective treatment plan for your condition and needs. Your treatment team may recommend any of the following treatments as part of your plan: 

  • Surgery to remove all or as much as possible of the tumour. 

  • Chemotherapy, or anti-cancer drugs. This helps shrink or destroy the cancer cells before or after surgery. 

  • Radiation therapy, which is strong and powerful beams of radiation/energy. This kills and/or slow cancer cells either before or after surgery or both 

  • External beam radiation therapy, directed and delivered from outside of the body 

  • Internal radiation therapy called brachytherapy. We direct and deliver this inside the body, up close to the cancer itself. 

  • Clinical trials. 

  • A combination of these. 

Enhancing your care after treatment 

After effective treatment, patients will continue to see their specialist every three months. We use these visits to check your health. They may include tests such as pathology, scans, x-rays, ultrasounds and small biopsies. Your specialist will discuss the best follow-up plan for you. 

Ovarian, fallopian tube and primary peritoneal cancer support 

We focus on all aspects of your health and wellbeing. Our ovarian cancer experts will help support you. They will also guide you to the best information and managed care. 

Our specialist nurses can refer you to our:

Living with ovarian, fallopian tube and primary peritoneal cancer 

We know how hard cancer and treatment can be. It will disrupt and change your lifestyle and that of your loved ones. During this time, it is common to struggle with ongoing concerns about cancer and therapy. There are many expert groups available to support you through this time, including: 

Patient and carer resources 

More information about ovarian cancers is available. This covers their treatment and support for patients and families. You can download copies of the following resources: 

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