Most types of ovarian cancer begin in the epithelium, which is a layer of tissue that lines the ovaries. These are called epithelial tumors. Germ cell carcinomas, which begin in the cells that make eggs, and stromal carcinoma tumors, which start in the connective tissue of the ovaries, are also common types of ovarian cancer.
The ovaries are a critical part of a woman’s reproductive system, producing female hormones as well as eggs. Ovarian cancer is not the most common cancer, but it does rank 10th on the list of cancers that women get and fifth in cancer-related deaths .
Causes and Symptoms
Researchers aren’t sure what causes ovarian cancer, but there are some factors that appear to increase risk. Things like have a family history of cancer, having had cancer previously and being older all lead to a higher ovarian cancer risk. Women who were never pregnant or have used hormonal therapy for menopause also seem to run a greater risk of developing ovarian cancer.
At first, ovarian cancer may not present symptoms. But as it progresses, symptoms might include fatigue as well as pain, pressure or swelling in the abdomen and pelvis and shortness of breath. Digestive issues such as constipation, diarrhea, nausea and bloating are also common.
Treatment of Ovarian Cancer
The primary treatments for ovarian cancer are surgery to remove an ovary or part of an ovary, as well as chemotherapy to kill cancer cells in the surrounding tissue. Radiation therapy is not used as frequently to treat ovarian cancer as it is for some other forms of cancer.
SOURCES: U.S. National Cancer Institute; Ovarian Cancer National Alliance
A new immunotherapy vaccine shows promise in fight against ovarian cancer, study finds.
Most cases start in the fallopian tubes, not the ovaries, study suggests
Plant-based diet could help avoid malignancies, study suggests
Researchers move 'a step forward,' assessing DNA fragments for colon, breast, ovarian and lung tumors
Test isn't accurate enough to justify its use, experts say
Estimating the absolute risk of breast and ovarian cancer among carriers of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations
British researchers zero in on genetic links between early puberty and increased cancer risk
Study finds prognosis may have some surprising influences
Half of breast cancer patients who had both breasts removed unsure of genetic risk of more cancers: study
6 out of 10 screened weren't at high risk for the disease, researchers say
Drug may help fight tumors affecting the ovaries, fallopian tubes or abdominal wall
Findings emphasize the importance of counseling these women, before and during pregnancy
Digestive organs may be hardest hit by too much weight, study suggests
Older age, family history raise the odds for this potentially deadly disease
Rubraca's use is specific to women with a mutation of the BRCA gene, FDA said
Doctors should rule out physical causes before declaring discomfort is all in a patient's head, specialist says
Leading cancer and women's health groups say probably not
Because early signs are often easy to ignore, 140,000 women worldwide die of the disease every year
May delay preventive therapies for high-risk women, spur unnecessary procedures in some without cancer
Rates down 16 percent in U.S., 8 percent in Canada, and 10 percent in Europe over a decade: study
International committee finds thinner folks less likely to develop variety of malignancies
Women with BRCA1 may want to consider preventive removal of uterus, researcher says
Chronic inactivity linked to greater risk for the disease in study
Researchers also found different microbes in women with ovarian cancer
Study found using both abdomen drip and IV delayed progression of disease
Advanced age, disease were predictors for receiving only chemo, radiation or nothing at all
Older women taking metformin saw a boost in survival, study suggests
Women with mutations in some 'DNA repair' genes may survive much longer, research shows
Better understanding needed to improve prevention, detection, treatment, U.S. panel notes
Study suggests, but doesn't prove, that odds increase for some types of tumors, but drop for others
Analyzing results over time can detect harmful changes, study suggests
Preventing the disease is key, researchers say, since tumors often spotted too late for a cure
Women who've had their tubes tied also seemed to be protected
But outside expert questions whether counseling may be more important after test comes back positive
Price of genetic tests would have to drop 90 percent to be cost-effective, researcher says
But researchers say clinical trials needed to prove older beta blockers lengthen life in these patients
Women who don't have BRCA mutations could have other high-risk genes that affect treatment choices
Many of these patients even had 'high-risk' disease that lowered odds of a good prognosis
Protective effect seems to linger for decades after contraceptive is discontinued, researchers found
Therapy involves dosing chemo directly into the abdomen, researchers explain
Effect was not seen in men, and held even after researchers factored out a lack of exercise