Ovarian cancer is the growth of cancer cells in the ovaries. The ovaries make eggs for reproduction and female hormones. The most common type of ovarian cancer is epithelial.
Cancer occurs when cells in the body divide without control or order. If cells keep dividing uncontrollably, a mass of tissue forms. This is called a growth or tumor. The term cancer refers to malignant tumors. They can invade nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body.
Many of these tumors may grow to be very large without showing symptoms. These tumors can be hard to find during a physical exam. As a result, about 70% of patients are found with advanced disease.
Germ cell tumors come from the reproductive tissue. They account for 20% of tumors. More rare are stromal cancers. These come from the connective cells of the ovary. They typically make hormones which cause symptoms.