​Borderline Ovarian Tumours

Borderline ovarian tumours are different to ovarian cancer. Although they develop from the same type of cells on the surface of the ovary known as the epithelial cells, they do not grow uncontrollably. Ovaries are a part of the female reproductive system that produces the eggs, as well as the hormones progesterone and oestrogen.

Borderline ovarian tumours are less malignant compared to other ovarian cancers and often, they are mostly unable to invade other tissues. Therefore they are usually referred to as borderline ovarian tumours instead of borderline ovarian cancer. When these tumours do spread outside the ovary, they form tumour implants (deposits) on the lining of the abdomen and on the surface of the organs in the abdomen and pelvis. The exact cause of these tumours remains unclear because of its rarity. Some risk factors associated with them include:

  • Use of oral contraceptives

  • Smoking

  • Family history of ovarian cancer

  • Menstrual history

  • Your age at your first period, first pregnancy and first delivery

Some people may not show any noticeable symptoms. But majority show symptoms which include:

  • Lump in abdomen

  • Abdominal pain

  • Bloating, full feeling in the abdomen

  • Abnormal bleeding apart from menstruation

If you notice any of the above mentioned symptoms that concern you, consult our doctors at the Oncology Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital.

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.

Your doctor will begin your diagnosis by discussing your medical history with you and conducting a physical exam. You may then be prescribed a series of tests including:

  • Transvaginal ultrasound in which high frequency sound waves are used to create an image by inserting the ultrasound probe, about two to three inches, into your vagina to examine the ovaries, uterus, fallopian tube, cervix and vagina.

  • Laparotomy in which the incision is made in the abdomen to view the ovaries and remove them in case a tumour is detected.   

  • Computerized Tomography (CT) scan to obtain a detailed image of your pelvic organs.

  • Biopsy to remove a tumour sample to be studied under the microscope.

Primary treatment for your disease is surgery. The type of surgery you undergo would depend on the spread of the disease as well as your age, general health and personal preference like whether you want to have more children or not.

The Agha Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.
The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.
The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider. ​