Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian Cancer: Symptoms and Diagnosis in Houston, Texas

Understand Your Ovarian Cancer Risk

If you are like many women who trust routine Pap smears to detect ovarian cancer you need to know it’s not always a reliable predictor of the disease. According to the American Cancer Society, only about 20 percent of cases are diagnosed in the early stages. Often it’s only after the disease has spread to lymph nodes outside the abdomen or to the liver, spleen, intestines or brain that women begin to notice ovarian cancer symptoms.

ovarian cancer

If you are concerned about your ovarian cancer risk you can take this quick risk-assessment to determine if you need to visit your regular OB GYN or schedule an appointment with gynecologic oncologist, Dr. Richard Drake.

Understanding your risks for ovarian cancer, undergoing a pelvic exam and conducting genetic testing could all lead to better health and wiser behavior choices. A recent study conducted by the American Cancer Association reaffirms this fact. It found approximately 42% of cancer cases and 45% of cancer deaths in the United States are linked to modifiable risk factors and could be preventable.

Taking early action and undergoing detection and screening procedures may help prevent or limit ovarian cancer spread. One of the best chances of early detection could lie with knowledge of your family history, risk factors and genetics.

Since the disease isn’t often diagnosed until its in the later stages, being proactive could help lower your risk of developing ovarian cancer or identifying it sooner.

Ovarian Cancer Symptoms

While the symptoms of ovarian cancer can be hard to detect or overlooked, there are biological signs that may indicate you need to schedule an appointment for screening. Some of these can include:

  • Swollen abdomen or bloating feeling
  • Lower back dull pain
  • Weight loss
  • Pelvic pain
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Pain during sex
  • Constipation
  • Nausea, vomiting, gas or diarrhea
  • Frequent urination
  • Constant feelings of tiredness and low energy
  • Menstrual changes
  • Bowel movement changes
  • Feeling fullness when eating
  • Indigestion/ heartburn
  • Feeling full faster (early satiety) or trouble eating
  • Abnormal pelvic exam findings


  • Ct scans
  • Blood tests
  • Transvaginal ultrasound
  • Imaging tests
  • Tissue pathology


Your treatment options will be based on the findings of your scans and tests during the diagnosis phase as well as post-surgical tumor testing. These will be tailored to your unique cancer.

Surgery – The first-line treatment for ovarian cancer is typically a surgical procedure that can include radical debulking or robotic techniques and hysterectomy surgery.  Prior to any treatment you and your doctor should discuss your future plans for pregnancy. There are certain fertility-sparing surgical techniques that might be used based on your specific circumstances. Additional treatments may be recommended such as chemotherapy, hormone therapies and ovarian cortex cryopreservation.

ovarian cancer awareness

Chemotherapy – can be delivered 3 ways. Your doctor will recommend the most appropriate delivery form. This could include oral medication, intravenous administration through a vein or delivery via a catheter in your abdomen.

Hormone Therapy – is used to starve the ovarian cancer cells from the hormones that are feeding them.

Targeted Therapy – uses drugs to interfere with the rebuilding process of the tumor cells. These drugs are known as PARP inhibitors.

Ovarian Cortex Cryopreservation – is used to preserve ovarian tissue prior to cancer treatment. This allows women the chance to have future children. 

Get Expert Care

Gynecologic oncologists such as Dr. Richard Drake are the experts. They are trained in understanding and interpreting your genetic testing and experienced in confirming an ovarian cancer diagnosis.

These physicians are specialists in the treatment of gynecologic (GYN) cancers and have advanced and specialized training in oncology for women’s health.

Dr. Richard Drake is a highly trained and recognized gynecologic oncologist who is leading the way in women’s ovarian cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment in the Houston, Texas area.

ovary pain

Whether you have already been diagnosed with ovarian cancer or need help in understanding genetic testing options, Dr. Drake identifies and treats all stages of ovarian cancer. He and his staff work with you to develop a treatment plan, determine the best financial assistance and design specific goals that are right for you.

Dr. Drake and his highly trained team are located in Houston area near The Woodlands, Texas. His years of research and surgery at The Cleveland Clinic make him one of the top gynecologic oncologists in the Houston, Texas area.

Receive the expert care you deserve. Call or schedule your appointment to get started on the path to hope and freedom from cancer.

What Are The Risk Factors?

  • Family History of Ovarian Cancer
  • Inherited Genetic Traits and Mutations – breast cancer genes 1 and 2 as well as those causing Lynch syndrome often linked to colon cancer
  • Your Age – women between 50 and 60
  • Never Becoming Pregnant
  • Early Onset of Menstruation – before 12
  • Late Stage Menopause – after 52
  • Smoking
  • Certain Fertility Treatments
  • Intrauterine Uterine Devices (IUD’s)
  • Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOS)
  • Pregnancy > 35 years old
  • Obesity

Knowing if you have risk factors and undergoing genetic testing can go a long way in alerting you to potential ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, vulva cancer and other reproductive female cancers.

Patients with ovarian cancer may not have any symptoms until it has grown very large or has spread.

Many conditions could be the cause of these signs and symptoms. If ovarian cancer is suspected,
there are further tests and procedures used to confirm the diagnosis.

Ways you can reduce your risk of developing ovarian cancer:

  • Obtain routine health screenings including well women exams.
  • Discuss any suggestive signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer with your physician
  • Birth control pills lower the risk of ovarian cancer
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Full term pregnancies reduce the risk of ovarian cancer along with breastfeeding.
  • Be aware if cancer runs in your family as certain types of cancer can be genetic. If you have a
    family history of cancer, discuss with your physician if genetic testing would be beneficial for you

Why Choose Dr. Rich Drake

Dr. Rich Drake is a board certified obstetrician/gynecologist who specializes in gynecologic oncology. He is highly trained and recognized as a leader in treating female reproductive cancers in Houston and The Woodlands, Texas. Having spent 7 years associated with the Cleveland Clinic, he now brings that exceptional experience and knowledge to women.


By offering advanced treatment for those diagnosed with ovarian and other gynecologic cancers Dr. Drake is known as one of the best gynecologic oncologists in the Houston, Texas area. He performs tumor-removal surgery, administers chemotherapy, hormone therapy and or immunotherapy all carefully developed for your specific cancer. With his background in cancer research and years in practice, make him an exceptional choice for your oncology team.

Visit with us to learn more about how we can offer hope, peace of mind and assurance that you are receiving state of the art testing and treatment for ovarian cancer diagnosis.

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