Ovarian cancer affects roughly one in 75 women in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. Ovarian cancer most commonly affects women over the age of 50, although it may occur in women of any age.
Ovarian cancer originates in the ovaries, which are almond-shaped female reproductive glands that produce eggs and the hormones estrogen and progesterone. It’s similar to cancers that develop in the fallopian tubes (fallopian tube cancer) and peritoneum (peritoneal cancer), which are treated in similar ways. When ovarian cancer metastasizes, it may spread to organs and tissues in the abdomen, pelvis and lymph nodes, or to distant sites throughout the body, such as the lungs. The most common type of ovarian cancer is epithelial, which begins in the layer of cells that cover the ovaries and the abdominal cavity. Epithelial cancers account for roughly 85 percent to 90 percent of all ovarian cancer cases.