Ovarian Cancer Home > Types of Ovarian Cancer

The most common forms of ovarian cancer include ovarian germ cell cancer, ovarian epithelial cancer, or low malignant potential ovarian cancer. They are categorized according to where in the ovary they occur, as well as their likelihood of spreading to other parts of the body. Of all the different types, ovarian epithelial cancer affects the most women.

What Are the Types of Ovarian Cancer?

Ovarian cancer types include:
However, before discussing these different types, it may be helpful to understand more about cancer.

Understanding Cancer

Cancer is a group of many related diseases that begin in cells, the body's basic unit of life. To understand ovarian cancer, it is helpful to know about normal cells and what happens when they become cancerous.
The body is made up of many types of cells. Normally, cells grow, divide, and produce more cells when the body needs them. This orderly process helps to keep the body healthy. Sometimes, however, cells keep dividing when new cells are not needed. These extra cells form a mass of tissue, called a growth or tumor. Tumors can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
Benign Tumors and Ovarian Cysts
Benign tumors are not cancer. They often can be removed and, in most cases, they do not come back. Cells in benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body. Most importantly, benign tumors are rarely life-threatening.
Ovarian cysts are a different type of growth. They are fluid-filled sacs that form on the surface of an ovary. They are not cancer. Cysts often go away without treatment. If a cyst does not go away, however, the doctor may suggest removing it, especially if it seems to be growing.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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