Understanding ovarian cancer

There’s a lot to learn and understand about ovarian cancer. Simply put, ovarian cancer is cancer that starts in the ovaries or fallopian tubes. The female reproductive system is a complex, life-making machine. Home to three different kinds of cells, it may breed potential for cancer to start in any one of those cells and form tumors.1 The cell where the tumor starts may determine the type of ovarian cancer.2 And then, each tumor may be given a stage number and grade (two different things) to diagnose the severity.

What are the types of ovarian cancer?

There are more than 30 different types of ovarian cancer. Here are the three common types of cells where ovarian cancer may start, along with their respective tumors:3, 4

  • Surface epithelium: These are cells that cover the outer lining of the ovaries. Tumors that grow here are called epithelial tumors. This kind accounts for about 90% of ovarian cancers.
  • Germ cells: These are egg-producing cells. Germ cell tumors are considered rarer and usually show up in younger women.
  • Stromal cells: These cells produce hormones. Stromal tumors may often be diagnosed at an earlier stage compared to others.

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Footnotes

  1. What is Ovarian Cancer? cancer.org, 2018.
  2. Ovarian Cancer mayoclinic.org, 2019.
  3. Types & Stages of Ovarian Cancer ovarian.org, 2021.
  4. Ovarian cancer- Symptoms and causes mayoclinic.org, 2019.
  5. How to Check for Ovarian Cancer cancer.org, 2020.
  6. Ovarian cancer- Diagnosis and treatment mayoclinic.org, 2019.
  7. How am I Diagnosed? ovarian.org, 2021.
  8. Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer ovarian.org, 2021.
  9. Ovarian cancer- Symptoms and causes mayoclinic.org, 2019.
  10. What Can I Do to Reduce My Risk of Ovarian Cancer? cdc.gov, 2019.
  11. Cancer prevention: 7 tips to reduce your risk mayoclinic.org, 2021.
  12. Ovarian cancer- Diagnosis and treatment mayoclinic.org, 2019.