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Ovarian cancer types

Every ovarian cancer patient is different, and each deserves a treatment plan tailored to her needs and specific diagnosis. That starts with knowing what type of ovarian cancer you have. Although ovarian cancer is categorized into more than 30 different types, most are identified based on the name of the cell in which the cancer originated. Cancerous ovarian tumors develop most commonly in the epithelial cells, which are the cells that make up the outer layer of the ovary; the germ cells, which are the cells that form eggs; or in the stromal cells, which are the cells that produce and release hormones. Learn more about these common types of ovarian cancer, and some less common types, by exploring the tabs on the left.

Ovarian cancer types

Ovarian epithelial cancer

Although most epithelial ovarian tumors are benign, cancerous epithelial tumors, or epithelial ovarian carcinomas, account for 85 percent to 90 percent of ovarian cancers. They are often referred to by their subtype: mucinous, endometrioid, clear cell and undifferentiated. They commonly spread to the lining and organs of the pelvis and abdomen first before spreading elsewhere, such as to the lungs and liver. They also may spread to the brain, bones and skin.

Ovarian low malignant potential tumors are an ovarian epithelial subtype that occurs when abnormal cells form in the tissue covering the ovary. They are so named because the tumors have a low likelihood of turning into cancer. But in rare instances, the abnormal cells become malignant, and when they do, these tumors tend to grow slowly and affect younger women. They also do not typically spread beyond the ovary, and they usually respond well to treatment.

Two other types of cancer are similar to epithelial ovarian cancer: primary peritoneal carcinoma and fallopian tube cancer, both of which closely resemble epithelial ovarian cancer and are often treated with the same approaches and techniques. Primary peritoneal carcinoma develops in the lining of the pelvis and abdomen. Fallopian tube cancer starts in the fallopian tubes. Both are rare.

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