What is ovarian cancer? ~ Health Guide

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What is ovarian cancer?

Written by Mystic on Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Ovarian cancer, like other cancers, is a disease of the body's cells. Normally, the body's cells grow and divide in an orderly manner so that worn out or injured tissue is replaced or repaired. Sometimes cells begin to grow and behave in an abnormal way and grow into a mass or lump of tissue called a tumour.

Tumours can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Benign tumours do not spread beyond the ovary. Patients with benign tumours can be cured by the surgical removal of one ovary or part of the ovary.

Malignant tumours or cancers can invade neighbouring tissues and may also spread to other parts of the body. This can result in new cancer deposits called secondaries or metastases.

Ovarian cancer is a malignant tumour in one or both ovaries. There are four types of ovarian cancer. They are named after the part of the ovary that they originate from. They are as follows:

* Epithelial Ovarian Cancer
This cancer arises in the epithelium, the outer cells covering the ovary. This is the most common type of ovarian cancer with nine out of ten cases being epithelial ovarian cancers.

* Germ Cell Ovarian Cancer
The germ cell cancers arise from the cells that mature into eggs. Germ cell cancers are very rare and usually only affect women under the age of thirty.

* Sex-Cord Stromal Cell Ovarian Cancer
These cancers start from the connective tissue cells which release female hormones. These cancers can occur at any age. They account for only 5% of ovarian cancers.

* Borderline Tumours
Borderline tumours are a group of epithelial tumours that are not as aggressive as other forms of ovarian cancer. The outlook for women with borderline tumours is good even if it is not diagnosed early.

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