Ovarian cancer - advanced

Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the UK and affects over 7,000 women each year.

When ovarian cancer is more advanced, it can involve other organs in the lower tummy (pelvis) such as the rectumbowel or bladder.


It presents with very vague symptoms and in the early stages the patient can have no symptoms at all. As the cancer gets more advanced, it can cause lower abdominal pains, fullness and swelling, back pain, passing urine more often, constipation and painful intercourse. If these symptoms don't go away, patients should see their doctor.


Treatment for ovarian cancer can involve surgery and chemotherapy. In most cases, surgery is performed by gynaecologists who specialise in cancer surgery. But when the cancer is more advanced it can involve other organs in the lower tummy (pelvis) such as the rectum, other loops of bowel and bladder. In this situation, a colorectal surgeon is involved, as the ovarian cancer either needs to be taken carefully off the rectum and other bowel without damaging it, or they have to be removed together with the tumour.

These types of operations are regularly performed at The Christie. At The Christie, the gynaecological oncology surgical team treat ovarian cancer.

Last updated: March 2023