Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian Cancer. Powerful Supplements to Fight, Prevent, & Treat It

Updated: 9/28/23

Ovarian cancer is an often-overlooked, yet serious threat to women’s health. It is notoriously difficult to diagnose and can cause debilitating pain and suffering if not properly treated. But taking the right actions now can help prevent ovarian cancer and make it easier for your doctor to treat you should you ever be diagnosed with this disease. In this blog post, we’ll explore some powerful natural supplements that have been studied for their potential in preventing or treating ovarian cancer. We’ll look at why these specific supplements are well worth considering when it comes time to formulating a plan of attack against this very real danger. You don’t have to simply resign yourself to its presence; there are great tools available today that really work!

What is Ovarian Cancer?

Cancer develops from abnormal cell growth in different parts of the body. With ovarian cancer, cancerous cells develop inside, near or on the outer layer of the ovaries. The ovaries are a key part of the female reproductive system. Each ovary is roughly the shape and size of an almond. There are two ovaries on opposite sides of the uterus. They store eggs and also produce estrogen and progesterone.

Every year, around 20,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Postmenopausal women and those with a family history of the condition might be at a higher risk for this type of cancer. Sometimes ovarian cancer is called a “silent killer” since the symptoms are not specific and patients may mistake them for other conditions related to aging or gastrointestinal problems.

Although ovarian cancer only makes up 3 percent of cancer in female patients, it is the most serious cancer of the female reproductive system. Ovarian cancer is rare, but it causes more fatalities than other cancers that affect the female reproductive system. Research estimates that approximately 13,270 women will die from ovarian cancer in 2023. However, the sooner cancer of the ovaries is diagnosed and treated, the higher the likelihood of recovery.

Forms of Ovarian Cancer

There are three types of cells in the ovaries and each can form into a different tumor: epithelial, germ cell and stromal tumors.

Epithelial Tumors

This is the most common form of ovarian cancer. It develops in the cells in the ovary’s outer surface. They can be benign, malignant or they can be borderline with potential to be malignant.

Germ Cell Tumors

Germ cell tumors make up less than 2 percent of ovarian cancer cases. They develop in the ova or eggs in females and sperm in males, which are made up of germ cells. Most of the time, germ cell tumors are benign, but some cases may be life-threatening.

Stromal Tumors

These tumors develop in the tissue that holds the ovaries in place. It also produces estrogen and progesterone.  Approximately 1 percent of ovarian cancer cases are stromal tumors.

Signs & Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer  

Many women do not show symptoms in the early stages. However, when they do appear, the symptoms are usually nonspecific and patients may be mistaken for other common disorders.

Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer

Medical researchers do not know exactly what causes ovarian cancer. However, there are a number of factors that increase the risk. For example, age is a major risk factor. Most patients develop ovarian cancer at the age of 55 or older, but women in their 40s to 50s can also develop the condition.

Patients with family members who have had ovarian or breast cancer may also be at a greater risk of developing it. Speak to a physician about genetic testing, genetic counseling and other measures to manage or lower the risk for ovarian cancer, including preventative surgery. Some other common factors that increase the risk of ovarian cancer include:


There are various genetic mutations that raise the risk of ovarian cancer, including Lynch syndrome, BRCA1 and BRCA2. For example, approximately only 1 to 2 percent of women will develop ovarian cancer at some point in their lives. By contrast, a BRCA1 mutation increases the risk to 44 percent, while BRCA2 mutation  increases the risk to 17 percent.  Women with Lynch syndrome are 6 to 8 percent more likely to develop ovarian cancer.

Breast Cancer

Women who have had breast cancer are at a higher risk of getting ovarian cancer. Therefore, women with breast cancer and the BRCA1/BRCA2 gene might benefit from an oophorectomy to prevent ovarian cancer. 

Birth Control

According to research, the risk for ovarian cancer seems to be lower if a patient uses birth control pills for three to six months. The longer patients use the pill, the lower the risk seems to be. Patients can reduce the risk further by using depot medroxyprogesterone acetate or injectable contraceptive hormone, especially for more than three years.

Environmental Factors

Exposure to certain chemicals and toxins can also increase your risk of ovarian cancer. Women who work with pesticides, asbestos, and other industrial chemicals may be at a higher risk. Additionally, women who live in areas with high levels of air pollution may also have an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Reproductive History

Women who have had multiple full-term pregnancies, particularly before age 26, have a reduced risk for ovarian cancer. Generally, the more pregnancies, the lower the risk. Breastfeeding can also reduce the risk.

Fertility Treatment

According to studies, fertility drugs can also increase the risk for ovarian cancer, particularly in those who have taken them for over a year without a resulting pregnancy.


High body weight or obesity appears to raise the risk of developing various types of cancer. More commonly, ovarian cancer develops in women with a body mass index higher than 30.

Hormone Therapy

Researchers have concluded that replacement therapy may slightly raise a patient’s risk of ovarian cancer. In studies, the risk seems to increase the longer the patient undergoes this treatment. In many cases, the risk reduces when treatment stops. Androgen therapy can also raise the risk.


According to research, women with endometriosis have a greater risk of having epithelial ovarian cancer than women without it. According to studies, endometriotic cysts have iron in their fluid and medical researchers have concluded that it causes oxidative stress, which may influence gene mutation and malignant ovarian cysts.

Gynecologic Surgery

Surgical procedures on the reproductive organs may lower the risk of ovarian cancer. According to research, women who have had tubal ligation or hysterectomy are 30 percent less likely to develop ovarian cancer.

Ovarian Cancer and Periods

Ovarian cancer starts when the abnormal cells in the ovary begin to multiply and spread out of control. As the cancerous cells accumulate, they form a tumor. Ovarian cancer often has delayed diagnoses because its symptoms, like bloating, fatigue, and abdominal pain, are vague and easily confused with other common issues like bloating. However, research indicates that having regular menstrual periods might increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer. Scientific studies show that menstrual cycles are primarily controlled by hormones like estrogen and progesterone, which stimulate the ovaries to produce new follicles every month. Therefore, the more menstrual periods a woman has during her lifetime, the higher their risk of developing ovarian cancer.

Can Ovarian Cancer Cause Weight Gain?

When we think of cancer, we often associate it with weight loss- and rightly so. Many types of cancer, such as lung and stomach, can cause significant and sometimes rapid weight loss. But what about ovarian cancer? Can it cause weight gain? The answer to this question is not as straightforward.

it’s important to note that not all women with ovarian cancer experience weight gain. In fact, weight gain due to ovarian cancer is not very common. However, it can happen in certain cases. One reason for the weight gain may be due to the growth of the ovarian tumor itself. As with other types of tumors, ovarian cancer can cause a buildup of fluid in the abdomen, a condition known as ascites. Ascites can lead to a noticeable increase in belly size, which may be mistaken for weight gain.

If you’re experiencing unexplained weight gain, it’s essential to speak with your doctor. They can help determine the underlying cause and offer personalized recommendations. If your weight gain is due to ovarian cancer or its treatment, your doctor may recommend certain dietary strategies to help manage the weight gain. These may include eating smaller, more frequent meals, limiting salt intake to reduce fluid retention, and avoiding foods that are high in fat and sugar.

Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors

How Ovarian Cancer is Diagnosed

Physical Exam and Medical History

A medical professional may perform a physical exam to detect any abnormality in the ovary, and they will also ask for your medical history. Doctors may also examine the abdomen and pelvic area to check for any lumps or tumors. This helps to detect any irregularities or changes in the ovaries, most importantly any indication of ovarian cancer.

Imaging Tests

Following a physical exam, the next step toward a diagnosis of ovarian cancer involves different imaging tests. These may include ultrasounds, computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, and positron emission tomography (PET) scans. These tests can determine the size, location, and shape of ovarian tumors and can show how far the cancer has spread.

Blood Tests

Blood tests can also be a helpful tool for diagnosing ovarian cancer. These tests screen for certain levels of proteins like CA-125 (cancer antigen 125), which is often elevated in people with ovarian cancer. However, the CA-125 test is not entirely reliable, and it can return false positives. Therefore, this test cannot be the sole criterion for an ovarian cancer diagnosis.


A biopsy is the most definitive and accurate test for an ovarian cancer diagnosis. During this procedure, your doctor will remove a small sample of ovarian tissue or fluid to examine it under a microscope. This can confirm whether there are ovarian cancer cells present and can determine the stage of the disease.

Can Ovarian Cancer be Missed on Ultrasound?

Despite being a widely used screening method, ultrasound scans have a high rate of false negatives. False negative means the test results are negative while there is cancer present. This is because tumors may be small or in an inaccessible location which makes them hard to detect. Moreover, the accuracy of the ultrasound images depends on several factors such as body mass index, the expertise of the sonographer and technician, and the quality and type (transvaginal or transabdominal) of ultrasound performed.

Treatment for Ovarian Cancer 

The best options for treating ovarian cancer depend on various factors, including the stage and sub-type of the condition. In most cases, treatment can include a combination of the following:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Surgery to remove the ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes or other organs in the pelvis
  • Targeted therapy (e.g. monoclonal antibody therapy)
  • Immunotherapy


Chemotherapy uses drugs to destroy cancer cells or slow down or stop their growth. Usually doctors administer medication intravenously so that it reaches different areas of the body directly through the bloodstream. Patients may undergo chemotherapy before surgery to make the procedure easier or after, to destroy any remaining cancer cells.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy (radiotherapy) is not usually the main treatment for ovarian cancer, but the high energy x-rays may be effective if the cancer spreads. The most common type of radiation therapy for ovarian cancer is external beam radiation therapy.


In most cases, surgery is the main type of treatment. There are several different surgical procedures available, depending on the patient’s health and how far the cancer has spread. The types of surgery include:

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy drugs identify and destroy cancer cells to alter how they grow, repair, divide or relate to other cells. However, the drugs do so without harming healthy cells in the body.


Immunotherapy is a type of treatment that uses drugs to help your immune system fight cancer. There are several types of immunotherapy, but the most commonly used for ovarian cancer is checkpoint inhibitors, which help the immune system recognize and attack cancer cells.

Living with Ovarian Cancer

The first step in living ovarian cancer is to stay informed about your condition. Learn everything you can about the disease, its symptoms, and treatment options. Talk to your doctor, nurses, and other healthcare providers to understand your treatment plan and what to expect from it. Always ask questions and let them know if you have any concerns.

Physical activity can help alleviate the symptoms of ovarian cancer and improve your overall health. Consult with your doctor before starting any exercise routine. Depending on your condition, you may need to adjust your level of physical activity. Walking, swimming, yoga, and tai chi are some good options. Avoid strenuous activities that may cause fatigue or pain.

Living with ovarian cancer can be emotionally and mentally exhausting. It’s essential to seek emotional support from your family, friends, or support groups. Share your thoughts, feelings, and worries with them. You can also seek professional help from therapists, psychologists, or counselors. They can help you cope with anxiety, depression, stress, or any other mental health issues.

Can Ovarian Cancer Kill You?

Ovarian cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer as it often goes unnoticed until the later stages. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s always fatal. The survival rate for it depends on the stage at which it is detected. If diagnosed at the earliest stage, the survival rate is 92%, but if diagnosed at stage IV, the survival rate drops to 17%. So while it can be fatal, early detection dramatically improves life expectancy.

Supplements for Ovarian Cancer

In addition to medical treatment, supplements may help ease some of the symptoms associated with ovarian cancer and help benefit overall health. Be sure to follow a doctor’s instructions before starting a regimen.

Rosemary Extract

In addition to its common role as a culinary spice, rosemary can also promote immune and circulatory health, support hair growth and improve memory. Rosemary also has antioxidant properties that can minimize free radical molecules that cause disease. As a dietary supplement, take 500 mg of rosemary extract powder once or twice a day, after confirming the dosage with a physician.

Beta Glucan

Beta glucan provides an array of benefits, but most of the time patients take this supplement to promote immune system health so the body can fight infections. It boosts white blood cell production that defend the body from harmful invaders that cause disease. Mushrooms, yeast and algae are good food sources of beta-glucan, as well as oats and barley. But it is also available as a dietary supplement. Take 250 mg of beta glucan powder once a day with food, if a healthcare provider approves the regimen.

Ginger Root

Ginger originates in southeast Asia, but now countries around the world use it for a number of different health benefits that help maintain overall health. It is a very powerful and effective natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant substance. It also boosts immune function. Ginger protects the body from oxidation, which can trigger it. Dietary supplements may also help relieve some symptoms of ovarian cancer or side effects of chemotherapy treatment, such as nausea or vomiting. Take 1,000 mg (about ½ tsp) of ginger root extract powder with water once per day, or following a doctor’s instructions.

Inositol Hexaphosphate

Inositol hexaphosphate is present in foods, such as nuts, seeds, legumes and grains. The body cannot digest inositol hexaphosphate from food, but the body can make it itself. It is an antioxidant that can boost the immune system, but medical researchers study its effects on cancer treatment and prevention. Its antioxidant properties may help the body combat malignant cells or play a role in gene expression to benefit cancer recovery. However, researchers are still conducting studies.

Even though the body creates it naturally, inositol hexaphosphate is available as a dietary supplement. The recommended dosage for inositol hexaphosphate is 500 mg once or twice a day on an empty stomach. Consult a doctor before taking this supplement.

Cranberry Extract

Cranberries are a sweet-tasting fruit, but they can also provide several different health benefits. It contains loads of beneficial antioxidants and phytonutrients. They can regulate immune responses by stimulating anti-inflammatory effects. Cranberries can help fight against cancer and diabetes and promote cardiovascular health.

Cranberry supplements can also promote general health. As a dietary supplement, take 400 mg of cranberry extract powder with water up to three times per day, or following a physician’s advice.

Diindolylmethane (DIM)

Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a powerful antioxidant that helps support overall female metabolism and a strong immune system. Research suggests that it may even help prevent cancer, including prostate, colon and ovarian cancer. It influences estrogen to help correct hormone imbalances, which can trigger prostate cancer in men.

It is present in vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, but it is also available as a dietary supplement that can ensure a consistent dosage. The recommended dosage for diindolylmethane (DIM) powder is 100 to 200 mg, once or twice daily, with a physician’s approval.

Green Tea

Green tea is a popular supplement and energy source. It is packed with highly concentrated antioxidant levels. They counteract free radicals that cause damage and illness, including cancer. It has polyphenol antioxidants, which stimulate antioxidants in the body. It can also help relieve inflammation and keep the heart healthy.

In addition to drinking the tea itself, patients can also take green tea supplements. This green tea derivative contains 50 percent epigallocatechin (EGCG)—antioxidants that may promote overall health and counteract free radicals. EGCG might also promote weight management. Take 500 mg of green tea extract up to twice a day. Do not use more than 1,000 mg in one day and do not use it for more than three months because it can cause liver or kidney damage.

Bitter Melon 

Bitter melon contains several minerals and vitamins, including potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, magnesium, zinc and calcium. It has natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce oxidation in the body. Research also claims that it has anti-carcinogenic effects that may destroy cancer cells or slow down their growth. As a dietary supplement, take 750 mg of bitter melon extract powder once a day with food, after consulting a physician.

Milk Thistle

Native to Europe, milk thistle is now grown all over the world. The roots and flower heads are edible and can provide many different health benefits. The active ingredient in the seeds is concentrated silymarin, which can reduce inflammation, counteract free radicals and trigger cancer-fighting cells to interfere with tumor growth. However, there are some potential issues with silymarin in the digestive system and researchers are still conducting studies. As a dietary supplement, take 250 mg of milk thistle extract powder daily with or without meals, with a doctor’s permission.

The Bottom Line

Ovarian cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the ovaries. The ovaries are little, almond-shaped organs on the right and left sides of the uterus. They are vital to the female reproductive system because they produce eggs and the hormone progesterone.

There are several different factors that medical researchers link to ovarian cancer. These include age, genetics, family history of ovarian cancer, reproductive history, birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy. Patients can also potentially develop it if it has spread from another location, such as the colon or the breasts.

Early symptoms are similar to those of other diseases, so it may be difficult to diagnose ovarian cancer. Patients might have bloating, stomach pain or issues with urination. A patient might also experience unusual vaginal bleeding. If you experience these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that you have it. However, it is important to consult a doctor to rule out any serious conditions.

Treatments vary depending on the type, stage and grade of the cancer. Doctors also take notice of whether it has spread to other areas of the body. Common forms of treatment include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy and hormone replacement therapy. Patients may often need more than one form of treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment may be a patient’s best chance for a positive outcome and recovery. Another way to help benefit overall health is dietary supplements. They have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties that may help. However, it’s important to consult a doctor before starting a supplement regimen.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease

Author: BulkSupplements Staff