How common is ovarian cancer?

Updated: Aug 10, 2020
  • Author: Andrew E Green, MD; Chief Editor: Yukio Sonoda, MD  more...
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Answer

Ovarian cancer is the most common cause of cancer death from gynecologic tumors in the United States. Malignant ovarian lesions include primary lesions arising from normal structures within the ovary and secondary lesions from cancers arising elsewhere in the body. Primary lesions include epithelial ovarian carcinoma (70% of all ovarian malignancies). Current research suggests that the majority of these originate from the fallopian tubes.  

Stromal tumors of the ovary include germ-cell tumors, sex-cord stromal tumors, and other more rare types. Metastases to the ovaries are relatively frequent; common sources are tumors in the endometrium, breast, colon, stomach, and cervix. See the image below.

An enlarged ovary with a papillary serous carcinom An enlarged ovary with a papillary serous carcinoma on the surface.

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