Ovarian cancer is a scary diagnosis for any woman, especially because by the time it’s diagnosed, it’s often in its later stages. Cancer takes a long time (years) to develop, but the signs and symptoms aren’t always obvious. The good news is that while an imbalance sets the stage for cancer, getting the body back into balance can help you overcome it. The Wellness Way approach to immune and hormonal imbalances like cancer is to address the traumas, toxins, and thoughts that led to those imbalances in the first place.
While conventional treatments may still be necessary for ovarian cancer patients, supporting the body in eliminating harmful stressors can make those treatments much more effective.
What is Ovarian Cancer?
Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that originates in the ovaries or fallopian tubes, both vital parts of a woman’s reproductive system. The ovaries are responsible for producing eggs and female sex hormones, including estrogens and progesterone. The fallopian tubes play a crucial role in fertilization and transporting eggs (ova) from the ovaries to the uterus. 
Ovarian cancer develops when abnormal cells in these places start growing and multiplying uncontrollably, forming ovarian tumors. There are different types of ovarian cancer, the most common being epithelial ovarian cancer, which forms from the cells covering the ovary.
People often refer to ovarian cancer as the “silent killer” because it can be challenging to detect in its early stages, and symptoms are often vague. The American Cancer Society estimates that the prevalence of ovarian cancer in the United States in 2023 is about 19,710 new diagnoses and about 13,270 deaths from the disease. 
Genetics, family history, age, and specific hormone imbalances may influence the risk of developing ovarian cancer. Women with a family history of ovarian or breast cancer, especially those with BRCA gene mutations, have a higher risk.
Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
Symptoms of ovarian may include: 
- Abdominal or pelvic pain
- Difficulty eating (feeling full quickly)
- Frequent urination
- Changes in bowel habits
- Back pain
Many conditions can cause these symptoms, so they’re not specific to ovarian cancer. That’s why ovarian cancer is a silent killer – because these symptoms are so common.
How is Ovarian Cancer Diagnosed?
Diagnosis typically involves going to the oncology department of your local hospital and doing a combination of the following: 
- Medical history assessment: Your healthcare provider will start by taking a detailed medical history, including asking about your symptoms, their duration, and any contributing factors. He or she will also ask about a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, which would increase your risk.
- Physical examination: Next, a provider will usually conduct a pelvic exam, reaching inside your vagina and feeling the abdomen to check for abnormalities in the pelvic organs. A doctor will also visually examine the external organs, vagina, and cervix.
- Imaging studies: Ultrasound or CT (Computerized Tomography) scans of the abdomen and pelvis can help the doctor see the size and shape of the ovaries, watching for anything suspicious.
- Blood tests: Blood tests may include cancer antigen (CA) 125 test to check for a specific protein that often appears on ovarian cancer cells. A genetic test is another blood test that can show whether you’re at increased risk.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to obtain a definitive diagnosis by removing and examining ovarian tissue. If ovarian cancer is confirmed, the doctor will proceed with their standard of care treatments.
The Fireman vs. The Carpenter in Healthcare
At The Wellness Way, we talk about the mainstream perspective on healthcare versus our perspective, referring to these methods as the “fireman approach” versus the “carpenter approach.”
Mainstream “fireman” doctors have two tools (treatment options) to take care of people: an axe and a hose. The axe represents cutting things out during a surgical procedure. The hose represents the use of medications to extinguish the “flames”: inflammation, pain, and other symptoms.
Wellness Way doctors are more like carpenters: They assess the current state of the body with testing and then create a personalized plan to rebuild using nutrients from foods and supplements. Sunshine, rest, and positive relationships are some other natural therapies that help with healing.
While these things are considered “complementary medicine” or even “alternative medicine,” scientific research backs up their effectiveness in healing.
Mainstream Medicine’s Approach to Ovarian Cancer
Mainstream healthcare providers consider ovarian cancer a dangerous, rapidly spreading disease that they must stop as quickly as possible. That’s why treatment for ovarian cancer often includes surgery to remove the cancerous tissue and sometimes the entire ovaries and other nearby organs. Then, to be sure they killed all the cancer, they’ll follow up with chemotherapy. The approach is to kill the cancer by any means necessary. However, the specific treatment plan depends on the cancer stage and type and the individual’s overall health.
Medical and Surgical Procedures for Ovarian Cancer
First-line treatment of ovarian cancer is usually a combination of surgery and chemo. Surgical interventions may include: 
- Surgical removal of one ovary: Surgery for this type of cancer may involve removing that ovary and its fallopian tube. You’d still be able to have children.
- Surgical removal of both ovaries: If both ovaries have cancer, the surgeon may remove both ovaries and their fallopian tubes. Since the uterus is still there, you could still have children using your own frozen embryos or eggs. It’s also a possibility to get eggs from a donor.
- Surgical removal of both ovaries and the uterus: If cancer has spread to other tissues in the peritoneal cavity (metastasis), or it doesn’t matter to you whether you’re still able to have children, the surgeon may remove the ovaries and their fallopian tubes, plus the uterus, nearby lymph nodes, and a fatty fold of tissue called the omentum.
- Surgery for advanced cancer: If the cancer is at an advanced stage, a doctor may recommend removing as much cancer as possible, followed by chemotherapy. The standard chemotherapy regimens for ovarian cancer are a class of drugs called taxanes. Examples include paclitaxel (Taxol) and docetaxel (Taxotere). Doctors may also use platinum-based chemotherapy agents like carboplatin (Paraplatin) and cisplatin (Platinol).
If you don’t want to undergo surgery and the doctor approves, targeted drug therapy, hormone therapy, or immunotherapy are also potential options.
Medications for Ovarian Cancer Treatment
Medications for ovarian cancer usually fall into these two categories: 
- Targeted Medications: Targeted drug delivery addresses specific weaknesses in cancer cells. By aiming drugs at these weaknesses, the cancer cells are more likely to die (apoptosis). These anticancer drugs may include angiogenesis inhibitors (VEGF inhibitors) or others.
- Hormone therapy: Certain drugs can block the effects of estrogens on ovarian cancer cells, preventing growth. Doctors usually use hormone therapy for slow-growing cancers or when cancer returns after treatment.
These pharmaceuticals may help by poisoning cancer cells or synthetically blocking hormones, but they all have side effects. Those side effects are why many women seek out herbal medicine and natural ways to support their bodies in overcoming ovarian cancer.
What Causes Ovarian Cancer? Traumas, Toxins, and Thoughts
At The Wellness Way, we think differently! The most significant contributor to ovarian cancer is estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance comes from various combinations of traumas, toxins, and thoughts.
Traumas (Physical Stressors)
Traumas or physical stressors can be acute (like a car accident) or chronic (like being in a physically abusive relationship). Examples of traumas that could contribute to estrogen dominance and ovarian cancer include the following:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual assault/rape
- Car accidents
- Severe illness or infection
- Having a baby
These physical traumas may set off a state of chronic stress within the body. The result may be hormone imbalance and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
Toxins (Biochemical Stressors)
Toxins are biochemical stressors in the body. Toxicity promotes inflammation and damage to cells in the body, potentially leading to cancer. Examples of toxins that could contribute to ovarian cancer include:
- Sugar – Excessive sugar consumption can lead to estrogen dominance and increase the risk of ovarian cancer.  Sugar is also highly correlated with cancer proliferation and promotes it through several pathways. 
- Endocrine-disrupting chemicals – Endocrine-disrupting chemicals are in plastics, personal care products, fragrances, and household items. They may disrupt hormones by mimicking or interfering with natural hormones, including estrogens. These “xenoestrogens” can bind to estrogen receptors in the body, potentially increasing estrogenic activity. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), bisphenol-A (BPA), and phthalates. 
- Talcum powder – Talc is the mineral in talcum powder. When applied to the genital area or on sanitary napkins, diaphragms, or condoms, talc may end up in the ovaries, creating inflammation and damage. 
- Water disinfectants – In a 2021 systematic review and meta-analysis, water disinfectants like dichloroacetic acid, trichloroacetic acid, haloacetic acid 5, haloacetic acid 6, bromochloroacetic acid, bromodichloromethane, trihalomethanes, and chloroform are linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer 
- Medications – Certain fertility drugs, like Clomiphene citrate (Clomid or Serophene), may slightly increase the risk of ovarian cancer, particularly if used for extended periods or in high doses. Long-term use of estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or combined estrogen and progestin HRT is associated with a slightly increased risk of ovarian cancer in postmenopausal women. 
- Alcohol consumption – Frequent alcohol consumption can contribute to estrogen dominance by impairing liver function, increasing the conversion of male hormones to estrogens. Women who consumed over 25 grams of alcohol daily had higher levels of circulating estrogens (just over two drinks a day.) 
- Food allergies – Healthy foods can act like toxins if you’re allergic to them. Continuing to eat foods you’re allergic to can lead to chronic inflammation and hormonal imbalance. 
- Gut dysbiosis – Intestinal dysbiosis (imbalanced gut bacteria) may also contribute to estrogen dominance. Overgrowth of certain gut bacteria increases an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase. When this happens, estrogens recirculate instead of being eliminated. The result can be estrogen dominance and associated conditions like ovarian cancer. 
It’s interesting to note that having mumps as a child was found to protect against developing ovarian cancer in adulthood.  We now inject children with the MMR vaccine with the idea that we’re preventing mumps. However, these vaccines are full of toxic ingredients, and they cause children to miss out on this naturally derived immunity that comes with the body fighting and overcoming this infection.
Traumas and toxins are made worse by negative thought patterns and emotional stress.
Thoughts (Emotional Stressors)
Don’t underestimate the power of your thoughts. Emotional stress is just as powerful (or more powerful) than physical and biochemical stressors in triggering inflammation and imbalance. When the stress hormone cortisol goes up, progesterone goes down, and you may be left with estrogen dominance and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
Emotional stress can come from the following:
- Relationship issues – Relationships can turn toxic, leading to chronic stress. Prolonged stress can lead to dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which can, in turn, affect hormone levels, including progesterone and estrogen.
- Financial stress – Financial struggles can lead to a hormonal imbalance due to the long-term effects of stress and cortisol.
- Watching the news – The mainstream media rarely focuses on the positive. Regularly exposing yourself to bad news increases fear, worry, and overall stress.
- Feeling overwhelmed – Stress from significant life changes, like a recent marriage, a new baby, graduation, a divorce, or even moving to a new city, can lead to high cortisol, low progesterone, and estrogen dominance.
- Holding a grudge/pent-up anger – Holding a grudge creates stress in the body. Chronic stress may show up as inflammation, weight gain, and hormonal imbalance.
- A death in the family or a close friend – Grief is another form of stress that may create imbalances in the body.
- Military combat – PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) or PTSD from other causes. PTSD is a risk factor for ovarian cancer. 
- Witnessing violence or a natural disaster – Being a witness to a mass shooting, murder, accident, or natural disaster is another potential cause of PTSD that may cause lasting imbalances.
The cumulative effect of these traumas, toxins, and thoughts can create inflammation and increase the risk of dis-ease anywhere in the body.
The Wellness Way Understanding of Ovarian Cancer
At The Wellness Way, we dig deeper to solve the health challenges others can’t. We don’t just address symptoms; we run tests to find out what’s going on behind the scenes.
Essential Tests for Assessing Your Inflammation Levels and Hormone Health
- Food Allergy Test: Immuno Food Allergy Test
- Female Panel: Female Panel
- DUTCH Test: DUTCH Complete Hormone Panel
- Gut Health Test: Genova GI Effects with Parasitology
Your Wellness Way practitioner will order more tests based on what he or she considers most relevant based on your health history.
Dietary Changes for Women with Ovarian Cancer
First, focus on lowering inflammation in the body. That means avoiding food allergies and following a personalized nutrition program, as the Wellness Way practitioner recommends. Here are some general dietary guidelines for women with ovarian cancer.
- No sugar or processed foods – Both increase inflammation and cortisol. They can also lead to gut dysbiosis, potentially causing estrogens to go up by increasing beta-glucuronidase.
- Gluten-free, mostly grain-free – Gluten is known to aggravate the gut lining, contributing to chronic inflammation in the gut and throughout the body.
- Consume an overall low carbohydrate, non-inflammatory diet of organic whole foods, which supply nutrients, antioxidants, and food for a healthy gut microbiome.
- A ketogenic diet – Your practitioner may recommend a ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that has been studied for its potential benefits in cancer therapy, including ovarian cancer. 
- No cow’s milk dairy products – Goat and sheep’s milk products may be better tolerated – and even beneficial for lowering inflammation in the gut, which makes up a large part of the inflammatory response. 
- Avoid high omega-6 vegetable oils, like corn, canola, soybean, cottonseed oil, sunflower, grapeseed, and others, which can alter the omega-6 to omega-3 balance to be more inflammatory.  Instead, use fruit oils like olive, coconut, avocado, and palm oil or animal fats like beef tallow, bacon grease, and duck fat.
- Eat omega-3-rich foods – Wild-caught salmon, herring, sardines, walnuts, and ground flaxseeds provide omega-3s and help lower inflammation. 
- Follow a Personalized Nutrition Program based on your food allergy test results.
- Add specific nutrient-dense foods: Add Liver/organ meats, sauerkraut, and microgreens for enhanced nutrition. Liver is nature’s multivitamin, according to Dr. Flynn. White button mushrooms may be particularly helpful for those fighting ovarian cancer. An observational Chinese study found that eating more white mushrooms was correlated with less ovarian cancer. 
- Focus on antioxidants – Including things like turmeric, green tea, berries, dark chocolate, green leafy vegetables, and other foods rich in phytochemicals helps keep inflammation under control.  A 2021 systematic review and meta-analysis found that green leafy vegetables, allium vegetables, fiber, flavonoids, and green tea could significantly reduce ovarian cancer risk. Acrylamide from potato chips and French fries increased the risk. 
A healthy diet can reduce inflammation and support gut health, but supplements can go further to support hormone balance.
Supplements to Support Women Going Through Ovarian Cancer
Herbal supplements and other nutritional supplements can be incredibly supportive in supporting hormonal balance through ovarian cancer treatment. While every woman is different, some supplements The Wellness Way uses to support women dealing with ovarian cancer may include one or more of the following:
- Green Tea Extract – Green tea is a rich source of a polyphenol called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which may help the body avoid or overcome ovarian cancer. 
- Turmeric – Turmeric and its active constituent, curcumin, may protect the cells against oxidative stress, inflammation, and damage, reducing ovarian cancer risk. 
- Nettle Leaf – Nettle is an excellent source of quercetin, a plant flavonoid known for its anti-inflammatory and cytotoxic effects on cancer cells. 
- Oregon Grape – Oregon grape is an excellent source of berberine, a compound known for its positive effects on the cardiovascular system, metabolism, and infections. It also has anti-tumor effects and could enhance other therapies for ovarian cancer. 
- Mushroom Immune – Medicinal mushrooms, like those included in our Mushroom Immune supplement, may also be supportive. A compound in mushrooms called beta-glucans is now seen as a potential inhibitor of ovarian cancer, according to a 2022 review study. 
- Wellness Greens – Sulforaphane, a compound present in cruciferous vegetables like kale and Brussels sprouts, is helpful for supporting the liver, reducing estrogen dominance, and helping the body promote cell death in ovarian cancer cells. Sulforaphane pairs well with EGCG. 
- Calcium D-Glucarate – Calcium D-glucarate is a compound that naturally occurs in certain vegetables and fruits. Supplementing with calcium D-glucarate has been shown to inhibit beta-glucuronidase, reducing recirculating estrogens. Elevated beta-glucuronidase is associated with an increased risk of cancer. 
- DIM – DIM is short for diindolylmethane. It’s a natural compound formed in the body when you consume cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage. There’s evidence that DIM has activity against ovarian cancer. 
- Immune Glandular – Immune Glandular supplies desiccated spleen, thymus, and liver from pasture-raised New Zealand animals. It has constituents of immune-supporting organs and may help the body naturally fight against cancer.
- BioActive Selenium – Selenium is a trace mineral essential for the immune response. In a 2023 study, ovarian cancer patients had lower blood levels of selenium than the healthy control group. 
- Zinc – Zinc is well-known for supporting the immune system and has anti-cancer mechanisms. 
- Megabiotic Formula – These and other probiotic strains help the body keep infections and inflammation under control in the gut and throughout the body.
- CBD Extract – This cannabinoid compound has many uses but may also be helpful in reducing the spread of ovarian cancer. This study came out in early 2023. More research is needed, but CBD combined with NAC may be complementary to other treatments. 
Every woman is different – herbal remedies that work for one woman may not work for another. Part of that is due to body chemistry, including genetics and allergenic responses, and part is due to differences in the contributing causes of each individual case of ovarian cancer.
Lifestyle Changes & Complementary Therapies for Women Going Through Ovarian Cancer
Other natural treatments for supporting the body in overcoming ovarian cancer are lifestyle changes that bring balance to the immune system and hormones, including:
- Reduce stress – Stress can suppress the immune response, allowing cancer cells to proliferate. Animal models suggest that chronic stress promotes tumor cell growth in ovarian cancer.  Find what lowers stress for you, whether it’s music therapy, artistic endeavors, ecotherapy (time spent outside), or even spending time playing with children.
- Increase physical activity – Regular exercise helps the body in many ways, including oxygenation and improving the immune response. A systematic review confirmed that physical activity improves quality of life in ovarian cancer patients. 
- Get Adequate Sleep – Women need more sleep than men! Make sure you go to bed by 10 pm to reduce blue light exposure at night. Working night shifts increased ovarian cancer risk five times in a 2021 study. 
DISCLAIMER: These things should be a part of your normal daily lifestyle. The Wellness Way is not giving any medical advice. These are simply A Different Perspective on what you can do. You’re more likely to have normal hormone levels when doing these things regularly. These supplements and therapies are not a replacement for any medication. We are carpenter doctors and practitioners, not firemen. If you want medical advice, ask your fireman doctor.
Be a well-informed patient! Here are some resources for learning more about hormone imbalance and ovarian cancer.
Educational Resources for Learning About Ovarian Cancer
Videos & Webinars Related to Ovarian Cancer
Articles to Support Women Going Through Ovarian Cancer
CONNECT WITH US
We invite you to connect with us! Find an event at a clinic near you! Follow us on social media. Tune in to A Different Perspective each Saturday morning LIVE to get cutting-edge training directly from Dr. Patrick Flynn. Set up a no-obligation health consult with one of our doctors today. The best is yet to come! Think differently – and THRIVE. Reach out to a Wellness Way clinic today to get thorough testing and start on your health journey. We are here to help!
- What is Ovarian Cancer | Ovarian Tumors and Cysts | American Cancer Society
- Ovarian Cancer Statistics | How Common is Ovarian Cancer | American Cancer Society
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- Ovarian cancer – Diagnosis and treatment – Mayo Clinic
- Obesity, estrogens and adipose tissue dysfunction – implications for pulmonary arterial hypertension – Kirsty M. Mair, Rosemary Gaw, Margaret R. MacLean, 2020 (sagepub.com)
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- Beta-glucans is a Potential Inhibitor of Ovarian Cancer: Based on Molecular and Biological Aspects – PubMed (nih.gov)
- Epigallocatechin gallate and sulforaphane combination treatment induce apoptosis in paclitaxel-resistant ovarian cancer cells through hTERT and Bcl-2 down-regulation – PubMed (nih.gov)
- Calcium-D-glucarate – PubMed (nih.gov)
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- An Assessment of Serum Selenium Concentration in Women with Ovarian Cancer – PubMed (nih.gov)
- Role of Zinc in Immune System and Anti-Cancer Defense Mechanisms – PubMed (nih.gov)
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- Chronic stress promotes tumor growth and angiogenesis in a mouse model of ovarian carcinoma – PubMed (nih.gov)
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- Assessment of gynecological and lifestyle-related risk factors of ovarian cancer – PubMed (nih.gov)