The ovaries are a part of the female reproductive organs which produce egg cells every month during a woman's reproductive cycle. Ovarian cancer is a disease where cancer cells are found within the ovaries.
Ovarian Cancer General Information
Ovarian cancer can be most efficiently
using the terms TYPE, GRADE, and STAGE.
There are actually almost 40 different types of ovarian cancer. However, there are more commonly three main types that occur. 9 out of 10 women are diagnosed with common epithelial ovarian cancer. These are also called adenocarcinomas, malignant tumors of epithelial origin which begin in glandular tissue. Another type of ovarian cancer is the germ cell tumor of the ovary where the cancer is found in the egg-making cells of the ovary. This type is uncommon, usually occuring in teenage girls or young women. Finally, sex cord, or stomal cell ovarian cancer, begins in the cells that hold the ovaries together and produce female hormones. This type is also uncommon in comparison with epithelial.
The grade of ovarian cancer refers to
the degree at which it spreads throughout the body. There are four grades(0-3)
and are described as follows:
Borderline: Grade 0--spreads slowly
Well differentiated: Grade 1--spreads a little more quickly
Moderately differentiated: Grade 2--spreads rapidly
Poorly or Undifferentiated: Grade 3--spreads very rapidly
The stage of ovarian cancer plays a
very important role in describing the severity of the cancer. There are four
stages of ovarian cancer.
Stage 1: This indicates cancer is limited to the ovary or ovaries
Stage 2: This indicates the cancer has spread to the pelvis
Stage 3: This indicates cancer has spread to the abdomen
Stage 4: This indicates cancer has alos spread to the liver
These stages have proven themselves very important in terms of survival rates. 9 out of 10 women survive when ovarian cancer is diagnosed within Stage 1. In contrast, less than 2 out of 10 omen survive when cancer has spread to stages 3 or 4. Unfortunately, ovarian cancer is most often discovered in Stages 3 or 4 because the symptoms(discussed later) are so mild in the early stages.