Overview – Ovarian Cancer
Health March 27, 2018

Overview – Ovarian Cancer

An abnormal growth or division of cells in one or both ovaries can cause ovarian cancer. Though ovarian cancer can generally occur at any given age, it is mostly known to affect women who are 50 or older. Some of the common symptoms of ovarian cancer include frequent uncontrollable urination, abdominal or pelvic pain, bloating, and loss of appetite. In some cases, ovarian cancer symptoms may include menstrual irregularities, painful intercourse, backache, indigestion, heartburn, fatigue, and a whole lot of problems. Ovarian cancer is a disease that can be caused due to various factors including inherited genes, acquired genetic changes, reproductive history, obesity, age, frequent smoking and drinking, etc.

While it is used as an umbrella term, ovarian cancer includes different types of cancer that all stem from the cells of the ovary. One of the most common forms of ovarian cancer originates in the epithelium including the lining cells of the ovaries. Some of the rare types of ovarian cancer also arise from within the ovaries. Listed below are the broad types of ovarian cancer you must know about.

Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC)
Most cases of ovarian cancer are known to be ovarian carcinoma or epithelial ovarian cancer. This involves three types of major cancer including ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer, and primary peritoneal or pelvic and abdominal lining cancer. Typically, these types of cancer originate from the DNA cells that are responsible for the development of the disease. The tumorous cell types that usually lead to ovarian cancer include serous, clear cell, mucinous, and endometrioid. While it is hard to detect the main source of the cancer in the advanced stages, many experts observe that the lining in the fallopian tube and the cells on the peritoneum and surface of the ovary are the actual source of the disease.

Ovarian low malignant potential tumor
This type of cancer accounts for a mere 15% of epithelial ovarian cancer. This type of borderline tumor is caused due to mucinous or serous cell types that grow to become big masses that can cause certain symptoms. Since the best treatment option for ovarian low malignant potential tumor is removal of the tumor, this type of cancer is curable even if detected at the most advanced stages.

Germ cell ovarian cancers
Germ cell ovarian cancer originates from the reproductive cells of the ovary. This type of cancer is most common among young women and adolescents. Germ cell ovarian cancer is inclusive of various categories namely, mixed germ cell tumors, non-gestational choriocarcinomas, immature teratomas, embryonal carcinomas, dysgerminomas, polyembryoma, and yolk sac tumor.

Stromal ovarian cancers
This is another type of ovarian cancer that is called the sex cord-stromal tumor. These originate from the supporting tissues within the ovaries. This type of cancer is not as common as the epithelial ovarian cancer and only few cases have been noted.

Other types
Apart from the major types discussed above, ovarian cancer can further have categories such as benign epithelial ovarian tumors, teratoma, fallopian tube cancer, primary peritoneal carcinoma, etc.