Ovarian Cancer Information

What are the ovaries?

The ovaries are female reproductive organs located in the pelvis. There are two of them—one on each side of the uterus. The ovaries produce eggs and the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen and progesterone control the development of female body characteristics (for example, breasts, body shape and body hair) and regulate the menstrual cycle and pregnancy.

What is ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer is a disease in which cancer starts in the cells of the ovary. There are three types of ovarian tumors, named for the tissue in which they are found:

  • Epithelial cell. These are cells that cover the surface of the ovary. Most of these tumors are benign (noncancerous). However, epithelial ovarian cancer accounts for most ovarian cancer cases.
  • Germ cell. These are cells that form the eggs in the ovary.
  • Stromal cell. These cells form the structural tissue of the ovary and produce female hormones.

What is extra-ovarian primary peritoneal carcinoma (EOPPC)?

EOPPC is a rare cancer closely related to epithelial ovarian cancer. It occurs outside the ovary in the peritoneum, which is the lining of the abdomen (belly). Because it occurs outside the ovary, women who have had their ovaries removed can still develop this type of cancer.

EOPPC can mimic ovarian cancer in terms of symptoms and can also cause an increase in the CA-125 tumor marker. Treatment is similar to that for ovarian cancer and includes surgery and chemotherapy.

 

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