Sex Cord-Stromal Ovarian Cancer

“The American Cancer Society estimates that 22,280 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the United States in 2016 and that 14,240 deaths will occur from this type of cancer in 2016. About half of all cases occur in women over the age of 63.” (http://www.healthline.com/health/ovarian-cancer)

ovarian cancer

Types of Sex Cord-Stromal Cell Tumors
Women have two ovaries, which are responsible for producing eggs (ova) as well as the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Ovarian cancer can occur in several different parts of the ovary, including the stromal cells. Stromal cells, which make up most of the ovary, function like connective tissue, and sex cord-stromal cell tumors begin here. “The most common types are granulosa-theca tumors and Sertoli-Leydig cell tumors. These tumors are quite rare and are usually considered low-grade cancers, with approximately 70 percent presenting as Stage I disease (cancer is limited to one or both ovaries). Granulosa cell tumors (GCTs) are considered stromal tumors and include those composed of granulosa cells, theca cells, and fibroblasts. GCTs account for approximately 2 percent of all ovarian tumors.” (http://www.ovarian.org/about-ovarian-cancer/what-is-ovarian-cancer/types-a-stages)

Risk Factors
Unfortunately doctors are unsure of the cause of ovarian cancer; however, they have identified several risk factors. These risk factors include the following: smoking, hormone replacement therapy, obesity, talcum powder, and taking fertility drugs. Women with ovarian cancer may have concerns regarding treatment affecting their sexual health and fertility. These topics need to be discussed with a healthcare team.

Effects
Sex Cord-Stromal tumors are rare, grow slowly, and account for approximately 5 percent of all ovarian cancers. Overall, these tumors secrete estrogen and testosterone, which can cause hormonal effects such as early sexual maturity, the absence of a menstrual period, postmenopausal bleeding, or the development of male secondary sex characteristics, such as a deep voice or facial hair.

Treatment
Ovarian cancer is treated with one treatment or a combination of treatments, generally surgery and chemotherapy. There are several surgery options, including but not limited to hysterectomy, which is the removal of a woman’s uterus; lymph node dissection, where the lymph nodes located in the pelvis and paraortic areas are removed; and salpingo-oophorectomy, which involves the removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes.