3 Main Types of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is not a single disease. In fact, there are more than 30 types and subtypes of ovarian malignancies, each with its own appearance and biologic behavior. Because of this, most experts group ovarian cancers within three major categories, according to the type of ovarian cells in which they originate:

Ovarian Cancer Types






The 3 main types of ovarian cancer are:

1. Epithelial tumors – start from cells that line or cover the ovaries.

Common epithelial tumors, which are the most common and the most dangerous of all types of ovarian cancers, begin in the surface epithelium of the ovaries and attribute to about 90 percent of all ovarian cancers. These tumors are divided into various subtypes—including serous, endometrioid, mucinous, and clear cell tumors—that can be further classified as benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous) tumors. Unfortunately, almost 70 percent of women with the common epithelial ovarian cancer are not diagnosed until the disease is advanced in stage.

2. Sex cord-stromal cell tumors – begin in the connective cells that hold the ovaries together and produce female hormones.

Sex cord-stromal tumors represent about 5 percent of all ovarian cancers. Ovarian stromal tumors are a rare class of tumors, representing about 5 percent of all ovarian cancers, which develop from connective tissue cells that hold the ovary together and those that produce the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone. They may contain gonad-related cells as well as fibroblasts, which are immature, connective tissue-forming cells.
In general, sex cord-stromal tumors are associated with hormonal effects such as virilization, the development of male secondary sex characteristics (low voice, facial hair), early sexual maturity absence/stopping of the menstrual period, or postmenopausal bleeding.

3. Germ cell tumors – originate from cells that are designed to form eggs within the ovaries.

Ovarian germ cell tumors, which occur most often in teenagers and women in their twenties, represent approximately 3 percent of all ovarian cancers. Most germ cell tumors are benign, although some are cancerous and may be life threatening. Today, 90 percent of patients with ovarian germ cell malignancies can be cured and their fertility preserved.

If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, be sure to research as much information as possible regarding your diagnosis, treatment, clinical trials, and prognosis. If you believe your ovarian cancer was caused by exposure to cosmetic talc or other chemical exposure, call the Madeksho Law Firm, PLLC and speak to an attorney for legal assistance.