Ovarian cancer is cancer that begins in the cells that make up the ovaries.
The most common types of ovarian cancer are epithelial ovarian cancers. These arise in the lining of the ovary, fallopian tubes or the peritoneum, (the lining that covers the organs inside your abdomen).
Epithelial ovarian cancers usually affect women who are older than 45 years although it is possible for younger women to develop them too.
The most common types of ovarian cancer for younger women are:
- Borderline tumours - these are tumours that are neither completely benign nor full-blown cancer. The cells of a borderline tumour divide slowly and aren't that aggressive. Treatment for a boderline tumour usually consists of surgery only.
- Germ cell tumours - these tumours begin in the egg cells of the ovary. To treat germ cell tumours it may be possible to remove only the affected ovary and fallopian tube to allow you to have children in the future. There is specific chemotherapy for germ cell tumours which varies from that used in other types of ovarian cancer. Types of germ cell tumours include yolk sac tumours, embryonal carcinoma, immature teratoma, choriocarcinoma, and dysgerminoma.
- Granulosa and sertoli-leydig cell tumours – these are very rare cancers that arise in the supportive tissue of the ovary.