Expert Videos

Module 1: Understanding Ovarian Cancer

What is ovarian cancer?
Women's health and cancer expert Nita Lee, MD, MPH, of the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center explains what the ovaries are, where different types of ovarian cancer can start, and which type of ovarian cancer is most common.
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Who is at risk for ovarian cancer?
Women's health and cancer expert Sarah Taylor, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center describes factors that may put you at risk for ovarian cancer, including gene mutations and family history, whether you have been pregnant, and how weight, menopause and hormone therapy can play a role.
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What are the common symptoms of ovarian cancer?
Although ovarian cancer is sometimes described as a "silent disease", there are subtle symptoms that exist but often go unrecognized. Dr. Nita Lee, a cancer expert from the University of Chicago, explains what to watch for, why symptoms can be hard to notice, and when to talk to your doctor. She also discusses how to advocate for yourself in seeking an accurate diagnosis.
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What genetic changes increase your risk for ovarian cancer?
Sarah Taylor, MD, a cancer expert from the University of Pittsburgh, describes how the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations can increase the chances of ovarian cancer. She discusses the importance of knowing your family history and the benefits of genetic testing for you and other family members who may be at risk for ovarian cancer or other cancers.
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What can I do to decrease my risk of ovarian cancer?
Women's health expert Nita Lee, MD, MPH, of the University of Chicago discusses the basic ways to lower your risk of cancer, including ovarian cancer. She also talks about some surprising things that can reduce your risk by affecting hormone levels, and explains why surgery is an option to reduce risk in some people.
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What are the stages of ovarian cancer?
Women's health oncologist Sarah Taylor, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Center describes the different stages of ovarian cancer, how the lymph nodes are involved, and where in the body ovarian cancer can metastasize, or spread.
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What’s the outlook for a patient with ovarian cancer?
Cancer expert Nita Lee, MD, MPH, of the University of Chicago discusses the different outlooks for people with ovarian cancer and the importance of talking with your doctor about your own situation. She describes several factors that affect the outlook for ovarian cancer, including age, cancer type, and more.
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Module 2: Diagnosing Ovarian Cancer

Why is ovarian cancer challenging to diagnose?
Women's health and cancer expert Sarah Taylor, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Center discusses the challenges of early detection of ovarian cancer. She also describes where it may occur in or near the ovaries, how to identify possible symptoms, and the importance of paying attention to your body's signals.
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Is there a screening test for ovarian cancer?
Nita Lee, MD, MPH, cancer and women's health expert from the University of Chicago, discusses the challenges of screening for ovarian cancer and why a normal Pap smear or routine blood test does not screen for the disease. She describes how CA-125 testing and ultrasound may help diagnose cancer and when they can be important.
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What are the genetic risk factors for ovarian cancer?
Sarah Taylor, MD, a University of Pittsburgh Cancer Center expert on women's health and cancer, talks about how ovarian cancer can be genetically related to other types of cancer, how your ethnic heritage may be a risk factor, and the risks for people with Lynch syndrome and the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations. She also explains genetic counseling and testing.
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How is ovarian cancer diagnosed?
Cancer and women's health expert Nita Lee, MD, MPH, of the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center, explains the importance of a pelvic examination and how blood tests, ultrasound, and CT scans are often part of diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Dr. Lee describes what tumor markers can be found with a blood test and when it becomes important to see a specialist.
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When is a biopsy performed for ovarian cancer?
Cancer and women's health expert Sarah Taylor, MD, explains why taking a sample of tissue called a biopsy is important for ovarian cancer and how it is usually done. She also discusses when surgery might be the first option and how a biopsy can work with surgery.
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How is ovarian cancer staged and graded?
Nita Lee, MD, MPH, describes the difference between stage and grade in ovarian cancer. She explains the TNM staging system, how doctors translate that information into the letters and numbers in medical reports, and what "high-grade" and "low-grade" cells mean.
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Module 3: Treating and Managing Ovarian Cancer

How is ovarian cancer treated?
Sarah Taylor, MD, an expert in women's health and cancer, describes why surgery is commonly done to treat ovarian cancer and which other treatments may be used before or after surgery. She also discusses the factors that determine treatment options, including age, general health, and type of ovarian cancer. Dr. Taylor explains maintenance therapy, palliative care, and clinical trials as part of ovarian cancer treatment.
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What types of surgery are used for ovarian cancer?
Nita Lee, MD, MPH, a cancer and women's health expert from the University of Chicago, talks about laparoscopic and traditional open surgery for ovarian cancer and the importance of finding a surgeon who specializes in women's health. She explains different reasons for surgery and how surgery can affect the outlook for treatment.
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How is chemotherapy used to treat ovarian cancer?
Sarah Taylor, MD, an expert in cancer and women's health from the University of Pittsburgh, discusses when and how chemotherapy is used to treat ovarian cancer and why it can be so effective. She also discusses chemotherapy that is done during surgery and how chemotherapy can help keep cancer from returning after treatment.
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How is radiation therapy used to treat ovarian cancer?
Women's health and cancer expert Nita Lee, MD, MPH, of the University of Chicago, explains how and when radiation therapy can help treat ovarian cancer and how working with a radiation oncologist is important. She also talks about the role of radiation therapy in reducing pain or treating ovarian cancer that comes back after treatment.
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How is targeted therapy used to treat ovarian cancer?
Cancer and women's health expert Sarah Taylor, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh, describes how targeted therapy works for ovarian cancer, when targeted therapy may be used, and the importance of developing new targeted therapies.
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How is hormone therapy used to treat ovarian cancer?
Nita Lee, MD, MPH, explains how hormone therapy, also called endocrine therapy, affects the hormone receptors on your cells to help fight ovarian cancer. She also explains how biopsy and surgery results can show whether hormone therapy should be a part of treatment and why hormone therapy may be easier to tolerate than traditional chemotherapy.
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How is immunotherapy used to treat ovarian cancer?
Sarah Taylor, MD, women's health expert and cancer expert from the University of Pittsburgh, explains how immunotherapy works to treat cancer, including ovarian cancer. She also discusses the cancer "vaccine" that activates the immune system against cancer cells.
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What is maintenance treatment for ovarian cancer?
Cancer and women's health expert Nita Lee, MD, MPH, talks about what maintenance therapy is, who might be offered this type of treatment, and when it is done. She describes how it can help slow the growth of ovarian cancer that comes back, and how to balance its benefits against possible side effects.
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How can I manage side effects for my ovarian cancer, and get support?
Women's health and cancer expert Sarah Taylor, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh, discusses the importance of considering the whole person when treating ovarian cancer, balancing effective treatment with concern for a woman's quality of life. Dr. Taylor discusses who might be able to help during treatment and what types of support are helpful.
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