Thomas Jefferson UniversitySidney Kimmel Medical College

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Ovarian Cancer

Quick Facts

Risk factors for developing ovarian cancer include a personal or family history of cancer of the breast, uterus, colon, or rectum, age over 55, women who have never been pregnant, and prolonged menopausal hormone therapy (taking estrogen for 10 years or longer).

Definition

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).

Specialized Physicians:
Atrayee Basu Mallick, MD
Avnish Bhatia, MD
Christina Brus, MD
Andrew E. Chapman, DO
Rebecca J. Jaslow, MD *
Michael J. Ramirez, MD
Lewis J. Rose, MD, FACP
Norman Rosenblum, MD *
Russell J. Schilder, MD *
Allison Zibelli, MD, FACP

*Practice Focus: Gynecologic Oncology

For further information contact:
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
www.jeffersonhospital.org/cancer

Stage I: Cancer cells are found in one or both ovaries. Cancer cells may be found on the surface of the ovaries or in fluid collected from the abdomen.

Stage II: Cancer cells have spread from one or both ovaries to other tissues in the pelvis. Cancer cells are found on the fallopian tubes, the uterus, or other tissues in the pelvis. Cancer cells may be found in fluid collected from the abdomen.

Stage III: Cancer cells have spread to tissues outside the pelvis or to the regional lymph nodes. Cancer cells may be found on the outside of the liver.

Stage IV: Cancer cells have spread to tissues outside the abdomen and pelvis. Cancer cells may be found inside the liver, in the lungs, or in other organs.

Treatment

Most women have surgery and chemotherapy. Rarely, radiation therapy is used. Cancer treatment can affect cancer cells in the pelvis, in the abdomen, or throughout the body. Surgery and radiation therapy are local therapies. They remove or destroy ovarian cancer in the pelvis. When ovarian cancer has spread to other parts of the body, local therapy may be used to control the disease in those specific areas. Chemotherapy can be given directly into the abdomen and pelvis through a thin tube. The drugs destroy or control cancer in the abdomen and pelvis. Systemic chemotherapy: When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein, the drugs enter the bloodstream and destroy or control cancer throughout the body.

Reference: National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/ovarian