Ovarian Cancer Symptoms, Early Warning Signs, and Risk Factors
Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Medical Editors: Dennis Lee, MD and William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Cancer of the ovary (ovarian cancer) is the ninth most common cancer in women in the U.S. with almost 22,000 women newly diagnosed each year. Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths in women. It frequently does not result in symptoms until the cancer has spread extensively beyond the ovary.
Ovarian cancer actually represents a group of different tumors that arise from diverse types of tissue contained within the ovary. The most common type of ovarian cancer arises from the epithelial cells (the outside layer of cells) of the surface of the ovary. Other, rare types of ovarian cancer develop from the egg-forming germ cells or from the supporting tissue (stroma) of the organ. Benign (noncancerous) tumors and cysts are also found in the ovary and are much more common than ovarian cancers.