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Ovarian Cancer

Cancer that forms in tissues of the ovary (one of a pair of female reproductive glands in which the ova, or eggs, are formed).

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

Types of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian Epithelial Cancer

Ovarian epithelial cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissue covering the ovary.

The ovaries are a pair of organs in the female reproductive system. They are in the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus (the hollow, pear-shaped organ....Read more about Ovarian Epithelial Cancer

Ovarian Germ Cell Tumors

Ovarian germ cell tumor is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the germ (egg) cells of the ovary.

Germ cell tumors begin in the reproductive cells (egg or sperm) of the body. Ovarian germ cell tumors usually occur in teenage girls or young women....Read more about Ovarian Germ Cell Tumors

Ovarian Low Malignant Potential Tumors

Ovarian low malignant potential tumor is a disease in which abnormal cells form in the tissue covering the ovary.

Ovarian low malignant potential tumors have abnormal cells that may become cancer, but usually do not. This disease usually remains in the ovary. When disease is found in one ovary, the other ovary....Read more about Ovarian Low Malignant Potential Tumors

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Venous Thromboembolism: Reducing the Risk of Venous Thromboembolism (Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism) in Patients Admitted to Hospital

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a term used to include the formation of a blood clot (a thrombus) in a vein which may dislodge from its site of origin to travel in the blood, a phenomenon called embolism. A thrombus most commonly occurs in the deep veins of the legs; this is called deep vein thrombosis. A dislodged thrombus that travels to the lungs is known as a pulmonary embolism.

No evidence to suggest tamoxifen benefits patients with relapsed ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer often spreads before symptoms show. Cytotoxic drugs are often only partly effective and cause severe side‐effects. The main aims of treatment for relapsed disease are symptom control and prolongation of life. No data from RCTs or non‐RCTs were found, so there was no evidence that tamoxifen was effective and safe as a treatment for relapsed ovarian cancer. Laboratory studies suggest tamoxifen may be effective as a treatment for women with ovarian cancer. Although, uncontrolled non‐comparative trials on patients with relapsed ovarian cancer showed tamoxifen may shrink or stabilise tumours in a small number, there is a strong need for an RCT or good quality non‐randomised comparative studies to determine the effectiveness and safety of tamoxifen in terms of overall survival, tumour response, symptom control, quality of life and adverse events.

Laparoscopy versus laparotomy (open surgery) for early‐stage ovarian cancer

Stage I ovarian cancer is diagnosed when the tumour is confined to one or both ovaries, without spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body. Approximately 25% of women with ovarian cancer will be diagnosed at an early stage, thus the diagnosis often occurs due to an accidental finding. The intention of surgical staging is to establish a diagnosis, to assess the extent of the cancer and to remove as much tumour as possible. The latter is particularly important as women with ovarian cancer survive for longer when all visible tumour has been removed.

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Summaries for consumers

No evidence to suggest tamoxifen benefits patients with relapsed ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer often spreads before symptoms show. Cytotoxic drugs are often only partly effective and cause severe side‐effects. The main aims of treatment for relapsed disease are symptom control and prolongation of life. No data from RCTs or non‐RCTs were found, so there was no evidence that tamoxifen was effective and safe as a treatment for relapsed ovarian cancer. Laboratory studies suggest tamoxifen may be effective as a treatment for women with ovarian cancer. Although, uncontrolled non‐comparative trials on patients with relapsed ovarian cancer showed tamoxifen may shrink or stabilise tumours in a small number, there is a strong need for an RCT or good quality non‐randomised comparative studies to determine the effectiveness and safety of tamoxifen in terms of overall survival, tumour response, symptom control, quality of life and adverse events.

Laparoscopy versus laparotomy (open surgery) for early‐stage ovarian cancer

Stage I ovarian cancer is diagnosed when the tumour is confined to one or both ovaries, without spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body. Approximately 25% of women with ovarian cancer will be diagnosed at an early stage, thus the diagnosis often occurs due to an accidental finding. The intention of surgical staging is to establish a diagnosis, to assess the extent of the cancer and to remove as much tumour as possible. The latter is particularly important as women with ovarian cancer survive for longer when all visible tumour has been removed.

Secondary surgical efforts to remove recurrent ovarian cancer in women who are no longer in remission

Ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cancer among women. Epithelial ovarian cancer is a disease in which malignant cells form in the tissue covering the ovary. It accounts for about 90% of ovarian cancers., the remaining 10% arise from germ cells and the sex cord and stroma of the ovary. Women with epithelial ovarian cancer that has returned after primary surgery (recurrent disease) may need secondary surgery to remove all or part of the cancer. The option of surgery (debulking or cytoreductive surgery) is currently offered to a select group of women with recurrent ovarian cancer. It is important to ascertain whether this surgery helps women with recurrent disease to survive for longer than if they only got chemotherapy.

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Terms to know

Carcinoma
Carcinoma is a cancer found in body tissues that cover or line surfaces of organs, glands, or body structures.
Epithelium
A thin layer of tissue that covers organs, glands, and other structures within the body.
Gamete (Germ Cell)
An egg (in the female) or sperm (in the male) cell.
Hormones
A chemical produced in one part of the body and released into the blood to trigger or regulate particular functions of the body. For example, insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas that tells other cells when to use glucose for energy. Synthetic hormones, made for use as medicines, can be the same or different from those made in the body.
Ovaries
The ovaries are a pair of female reproductive glands in which the ova, or eggs, are formed. The ovaries are located in the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus.

More about Ovarian Cancer

Photo of an adult woman

Also called: Malignant tumour of the ovary, Cancer of the ovary, Malignant tumor of the ovary

Other terms to know: See all 5
Carcinoma, Epithelium, Gamete (Germ Cell)

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