Ovarian Cancer

Definition of ovarian cancer: Cancer that forms in tissues of the ovary (one of a pair of female reproductive glands in which the ova, or eggs, are formed). Most ovarian cancers are either ovarian epithelial carcinomas (cancer that begins in the cells on the surface of the ovary) or malignant germ cell tumors (cancer that begins in egg cells).

Estimated new cases of ovarian cancer in the United States in 2016: 22,280

Ovarian cancer accounts for approximately 3 percent of all cancers in women and is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death among women in the United States. In 2014, it is estimated that nearly 22,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the United States. White women have higher incidence and mortality rates than women of other racial/ethnic groups.

Ovarian cancer often is diagnosed at an advanced stage, after the disease has spread beyond the ovary.

Risk factors for ovarian cancer include a family history of ovarian cancer; the presence of certain genetic mutations, such as mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 and genes linked to hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (also known as Lynch syndrome); use of estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy; use of fertility drugs; use of talc; obesity; and tall height. Women who are known to have an increased risk of ovarian cancer due to genetic mutations but no signs of the disease may consider risk-reducing surgery to remove the ovaries and fallopian tubes.Several newer genes have also been linked to ovarian cancer. ILCC offers genetic counseling/testing for patients with ovarian cancer. Standard treatments for ovarian cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Newer treatments for ovarian cancer include immunotherapy, targeted therapy, and therapies targeted to specific gene mutations expressed by the tumor in the gene line.

The following stages are used for ovarian cancer:

Stage I

In stage I, cancer is found in one or both ovaries. Stage I is divided into stage IA, stage IB, and stage IC.

Stage II

In stage II, cancer is found in one or both ovaries and has spread into other areas of the pelvis. Stage II is divided into stage IIA, stage IIB, and stage IIC.

Stage III

In stage III, cancer is found in one or both ovaries and has spread outside the pelvis to other parts of the abdomen and/or nearby lymph nodes. Stage III is divided into stage IIIA, stage IIIB, and stage IIIC.

  • Cancer that has spread to the surface of the liver is also considered stage III ovarian cancer.

Stage IV

In stage IV, cancer has spread beyond the abdomen to other parts of the body, such as the lungs or tissue inside the liver.

Cancer cells in the fluid around the lungs is also considered stage IV ovarian cancer.

All information was taken from the NCI (National Cancer Institute)