Ovarian cancer is not a single disease. In fact, there are more than 30 types and subtypes of ovarian malignancies. Each type has its own histopathologic (diseased tissue) form and biologic behavior.
Ovarian cancer is not considered just a single disease. In fact, there are more than thirty types and subtypes of ovarian malignancies. Each of them has its own biological behavior and histopathologic appearance. Ovarian cancer diagnosis is closely connected with the cancer type. So, three main ovarian cancer types (or tumors) are distinguished:
1) Epithelial tumors that come from cells at the line or cover of ovaries.
This kind of tumors starts in surface of the ovaries epithelium. It should be noted that this type of ovarian cancer represents about 90% of all ovarian cancers. Further they're divided into a number of subtypes: serous, mucinous, endometrioid and clear cell tumors. These tumors may be benign or malignant, i.e. non-cancerous and cancerous. Serous tumors are the most widespread, endometrioid tumors represent 20% of all epithelial tumors; they occur mostly in women who are between 50 and 70. Cells tumors represent 6% of all epithelial tumors. Most patients with clear cell tumors are 40-80 years old.
2) Germ cell tumors begin from cells that are to form eggs in the ovaries.
This type of cancer represents about 3% of all ovarian cancers. These tumors mostly occur in young women in the late 20s. Fortunately, such tumors are curable. Germ cell tumors are divided into dysgerminomas and nondysgerminomatous types.
3) Sex cord-stromal cells tumors, originating from connective cells responsible for holding ovaries together and producing female hormones. Sex cord-stromal tumors represent 5% of all ovarian cancers.
For the correct ovarian cancer diagnosis it is to be correctly staged. There is a binary system of staging that evaluates the cancer itself and the tumor. To stage the cancer samples should be examined; the results of needle biopsy, blood tests and image studies are to be taken into account. Ovarian cancer diagnosis (i.e. determining its stage and extent) helps a doctor to choose the appropriate treatment.
So, there are five main ovarian cancer stages. Stage I: ovarian cancer is confined to one or both ovaries. Stage II: it may spread to pelvic organs, but not to abdominal organs. Stage III: ovarian cancer has spread to abdominal organs. Stage IV: ovarian cancer that has spread to other organs (lung, brain). Stage V (recurrent): ovarian cancer has come back even though the patient has successfully undergone a complete treatment.
Diagnosing tumors is a very important constituent of ovarian cancer diagnosis. Primary tumor is classified this way: T1 (limited on the ovaries), T1b (no tumor on the ovarian surface), T1c (both ovaries are affected), T2 (spread to the pelvis), T2a (spread to fallopian tubes), T2b (spread to pelvic organs), T2c (spread to pelvic tissues), T3 (includes both ovaries), T3a (metastatic), T3b (2cm length), T3c (metastasis beyond the pelvis).