Ovarian Cancer starts in the cells of the ovary or ovaries. The female reproductive system includes 2 ovaries, which are small, oval-shaped organs. They are found deep in the pelvis on either side of the uterus (womb), close to the end of the Fallopian tubes.
There are 3 main types of Ovarian Cancer. For each type, the Cancer starts in a different type of cell found in the ovaries.
- Epithelial cell cancer starts in the cells that cover the outer surface of the ovary.
- Germ cell tumours start in the egg cells inside the ovary and generally occur in younger women. Germ cell cancer can even develop in children.
- Stromal tumours start in the connective tissue cells that hold the ovary together.
Epithelial cell cancer is the most common type of ovarian cancer. The information in this brochure is about epithelial cell cancer.
The other types develop differently and may require different treatment.
As of 2016, there have been an estimated 2,800 new cases of Ovarian Cancer and an estimated 1,750 Ovarian Cancer deaths in Canada (Canadian Cancer Statistics, 2016).