top of page

What Is It?

What is Ovarian Cancer?


The female reproductive system contains two ovaries. Ovarian cancer occurs when abnormal cells originating in the ovaries begin to grow uncontrollably.  Ovarian cancer will affect 1 in 78 women in their lifetime.  There will be over 21,000 new ovarian cancer diagnoses in the US this year.  Ovarian cancer is the 5th leading cause of cancer related deaths in women 35 to 74 years of age.

Types of Ovarian Cancer

Epithelial Ovarian Cancer
Epithelial ovarian cancer develops in the tissue that makes up the outer surface of the ovaries.  It is the most common type, making up 90% of all ovarian cancer diagnoses.  Epithelial ovarian cancer is generally found in postmenopausal women, but can occur at any age.  70% of cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage. 1 out of 7 women with epithelial ovarian cancer will also have a BRCA genetic mutation.

Sex Cord-Stromal Tumors
Sex Cord- Stromal Tumors develop in the tissue that supports the ovaries.  These make up 5% of ovarian cancer diagnoses.  Sex cord-stromal tumors are generally diagnosed at an early stage, 70% of cases being found at stage 1.

Germ Cell Tumors

Germ Cell Tumors form from the cells that make up the eggs in the ovaries.  Germ cell tumors make up 5% of all ovarian cancer diagnoses.  It generally occurs in teens and young adults.  Germ cell tumors can be cured in 90% of cases with preservation of fertility.

Primary Peritoneal Cancer

Primary Peritoneal Cancer develops from the peritoneum, a tissue lining that covers the abdominal organs. While it does not originate in the ovaries, it is classified  and treated as a type of ovarian cancer.  Primary Peritoneal Cancer is closely related to Epithelial Ovarian Cancer.  

bottom of page