The Side Effects of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is a serious disease with irreversible consequences. Treatment can trigger severe side effects that make your journey with this disease very difficult. Find out what they are today
The Side Effects of Ovarian Cancer

Last update: 30 November, 2018

Ovarian cancer is caused by the uncontrolled growth of cells in the ovaries. This type of cancer can involve the formation of tumors in the area and can also spread to other parts of the body.

Treatment for this disease must be carried out by a qualified specialist to ensure that the side effects are as minimal as possible. Nevertheless, there are certain adverse reactions to treatment that may be inevitable, such as the ones we’ll discuss below.

Side effects of surgical interventions for ovarian cancer

In this article, we’ll talk about some of the discomfort, side effects, and consequences that ovarian cancer patients may face during their treatment for this difficult disease.

Effects of anesthesia

Effects of anesthesia
The anesthetic treatment for all types of surgeries can cause some side effects that aren’t necessarily serious, but they may be uncomfortable and cause problems in the short or medium term.

Some of the negative side effects of general anesthesia include respiratory or cardiac problems, blood clots, hemorrhages, and infections.

We recommend you read: How is ovarian cancer detected

Effects on the body

During surgery, certain parts of the body will be directly affected, including the bladder, blood vessels, the intestines, and the lymph nodes. In some cases, it may be necessary to remove the lymph nodes found in a patient’s pelvis.

If this is the case, there’s a risk that the lymphatic system will break down and lead to lymphedema. This causes the legs to fill with fluid, leading to swelling.

Extreme side effects

ovarian cancer
There is a chance that during the surgery to remove any tumors it will be necessary to remove small portions of abdominal organs, such as the intestines, for example. It may also be necessary to remove part of the liver, gallbladder, or spleen.

It’s possible that when surgery is underway the patient will lose her ability to bear children. In the case that they wish to have children, therefore, they should make sure to undergo fertility conservation planning prior to the surgery. This will guarantee they have viable eggs for a future pregnancy.

We invite you to read: How to increase fertility

The effects of chemotherapy

The side effects of chemotherapy will vary depending on the medication being used.

Common side effects

  • Total or partial hair loss,
  • Excessive fatigue,
  • Hemorrhages and infections caused by a loss of red blood cells,
  • Anemia,
  • Nausea, vomiting, and watery stools (diarrhea),
  • Canker sores and a loss or change in sense of taste,
  • Cramps or tingling due to damage to peripheral nerves,
  • Mild pain in the ears and muscles,
  • Redness, darkening, and inflammation of the skin.

Less common side effects

Less common side effects
  • Blurred vision,
  • Low blood pressure,
  • Abdominal pain,
  • Allergic reactions,
  • Headaches or migraines.

The effects of radiation

The effects of radiation and chemotherapy are the same. Patients who undergo radiation therapy are also at risk of having digestive problems, however.

Natural ways to reduce the side effects of ovarian cancer

When face with a degenerative disease like cancer, nature provides us with the tools to create medicines that are highly beneficial.

Certain foods and herbs are excellent for reducing some of the side effects of ovarian cancer treatments.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these foods and medicinal plants.

1-Mint tea

Mint tea
The antioxidant properties in mint tea will strengthen your immune system and help your body prevent and fight diseases like ovarian cancer. It’s also excellent for soothing an upset stomach, one of the most common symptoms associated with this disease.


  • 7 to 10 mint leaves (1 g)
  • 1 cup of water (250 ml)
  • Honey or lemon juice to taste


  • Bring the cup of water to a boil.
  • Once it boils, add the mint leaves.
  • Remove from heat at and let it steep.
  • Add the honey or lemon juice if desired.
  • You can drink this tea at any time during the day. However, it’s best to have a cup in the morning.

2-Shiitake mushrooms

These mushrooms contain beta-glucan, a chemical that has been shown to inhibit certain types of cancer. Shitake mushrooms are common in Japan where they are used to treat ovarian cancer and other diseases.


  • 12 fresh shitake mushrooms
  • A bunch of scallions (200 g)
  • Sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil (15 g)
  • 1 small head of romaine lettuce
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (30 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce (30 ml)
  • ½ tablespoon of mirin (7.5 g)


  • Slice the caps of the shitake mushrooms.
  • Chop the scallions and season the mushrooms and scallions with sea salt.
  • Place this mixture on a grill or saute until the mushrooms are a golden brown.
  • Mix the liquid ingredients to make the sauce.
  • Wash the lettuce and dry it well.
  • Tear the leaves into pieces.
  • Toss everything together in a salad bowl.

  • Carelle, N., Piotto, E., Bellanger, A., Germanaud, J., Thuillier, A., & Khayat, D. (2002). Changing patient perceptions of the side effects of cancer chemotherapy. Cancer.
  • Monsuez, J. J., Charniot, J. C., Vignat, N., & Artigou, J. Y. (2010). Cardiac side-effects of cancer chemotherapy. International Journal of Cardiology.
  • Szotek, P. P., Pieretti-Vanmarcke, R., Masiakos, P. T., Dinulescu, D. M., Connolly, D., Foster, R., … Donahoe, P. K. (2006). Ovarian cancer side population defines cells with stem cell-like characteristics and Mullerian Inhibiting Substance responsiveness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.