Frequently Asked Questions
The ovaries are a pair of organs that make eggs for reproduction. They also make hormones. Low-grade serous cancer usually starts in the cells that form the outer layer of tissue around the ovaries. Sometimes instead it starts in the peritoneum (the tissue that lines the inside of the abdomen and pelvis and covers much of the organs in this space) – this is called low-grade serous cancer of the peritoneum. Often low-grade serous ovarian cancer is found in combination with a borderline epithelial tumour (otherwise known as low malignant potential because it is usually non-invasive). Borderline tumours are thought to be a precursor to low-grade serous ovarian cancer.
As the cancer grows it can cause symptoms including abdominal bloating/swelling, abdominal/back/pelvic pain, change in bowel function, urinary frequency or urgency, eating less and feeling fuller, indigestion, unintentional weight loss, painful intercourse, fatigue and abnormal vaginal bleeding. If these symptoms are new, unusual or worsening and last for more than two weeks it is important to see a doctor.
Unfortunately there is no screening test for ovarian cancer and because symptoms are often not severe and also occur more frequently in less serious conditions many women go undiagnosed for a significant period of time. Diagnosis of low-grade serous at stage I when the cancer is contained within the ovary, and is often curable, is very rare.
Read more about ovarian cancer symptoms.
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Researchers are also interested in developing clinical databases to track patient outcomes nationally/internationally. This involves collecting longitudinal data (medical information over a long period of time) on large numbers of women with low grade serous and helps doctors learn what treatments give the best outcomes.
International research groups investigating low-grade serous often work together on projects.
- new medications
- using the body's immune system to fight the cancer (immunotherapy)
Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia: In 2017 an immunotherapy treatment called CAR-T (chimeric antigen receptor T-cell) therapy was approved. Many people who just a year earlier would have been given a terminal diagnosis are cancer free because of this treatment.
Breast cancer: In the 1970s just four in ten women with breast cancer survived beyond ten years, now eight in ten do because of advances in chemotherapy, hormone therapy and immunotherapy drugs.
In 2017 200x more research papers were published on prostate cancer than low grade serous ovarian cancer
Your support is important. Thousands of women rely on the generosity of individuals to fund lifesaving research into low-grade serous ovarian cancer
Cure Our Ovarian Cancer does not receive any financial inducement from our partner organisations.