Most ovarian cancers start in the epithelial cells, which form the outer layer of tissue around the ovary. Many epithelial ovarian cancers may originate in the fallopian tubes, which connect the ovaries to the uterus. The full name for this type of cancer is epithelial ovarian cancer, but it is usually referred to as just ovarian cancer.
Epithelial ovarian cancer is more common in women over 50 years of age. It can be divided into a number of subtypes, depending on how the cancer cells appear under the microscope, but these subtypes are all treated in the same way.
Other types of ovarian cancer:
- Borderline ovarian cancer: also called a low malignant potential tumour, is a less common type of epithelial ovarian cancer. This type of cancer tends to occur in young women and is mostly confined to the ovary.
- Ovarian germ cell tumours: are a relatively rare type of ovarian cancer. These tumours begin in the reproductive (egg) cells in the ovary. They usually affect only 1 ovary and occur most often in young women, including teenage girls.
- Stromal (sex cord) tumours: which are also rare, start from structural tissues in the ovary that produce the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone.