Fluid build-up

Sometimes ovarian cancer can cause fluid to build up in the body.

Ascites

This is when fluid collects in the abdomen. It causes swelling and pressure, which can be uncomfortable and make you feel breathless. Your doctor will inject a local anaesthetic into the abdomen and then insert a needle to take a sample of the fluid. This is called paracentesis or ascitic tap. The fluid sample is sent to a laboratory to be examined for cancer cells.

Sometimes, to make you feel more comfortable, the doctor will remove the remaining fluid from your abdomen. It will take a few hours for all the fluid to drain into a drainage bag.

Pleural effusion

For some women, fluid may build up in the area between the lung and the chest wall (pleural space), which can cause pain and breathlessness. The fluid can be drained using a procedure called thoracentesis or pleural tap. You will have a local anaesthetic and a needle will be inserted into the pleural space to drain the fluid.


Listen to a podcast on Coping with a Cancer Diagnosis


This information was last reviewed in April 2018
View who reviewed this content
View our editorial policy

Support services

Life after cancer treatment
Webinars, exercise and nutrition, sexuality programs, and back-to-work support

Need legal and financial assistance?
Pro bono services, financial and legal assistance, no interest loans and other assistance

Coping with cancer?
Talk with a health professional or someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum

Cancer Information

Cancer treatment, constipation, diarrhoea and other bowel irritations
General information on managing these issues

Nutrition and cancer help for carers
Tips for preparing food for someone with cancer

View our publications
Guides and fact sheets for people with cancer, their families and friends

TOP BACK TO TOP