Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian Cancer

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In 2012, about 22,280 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the ninth most common cancer and fifth most common cause of cancer death in women.1

Methodist Cancer Center is dedicated to providing the resources you need for the diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer.

What Is Ovarian Cancer?

Cancer is the result of a mutation that causes otherwise normal cells to grow at an abnormal rate. A buildup of extra cells in the ovaries can result in the formation of tumors, which may be either malignant (cancerous) or benign (noncancerous). Benign tumors can be treated or surgically removed and usually don’t grow back.

There are three main types of ovarian tumor:

  • Epithelial tumors, the most common type of ovarian tumor, begin in cells that cover the outer surface of the ovary.
  • Germ cell tumors begin in the cells in the ovary that produce the eggs (ova).
  • Stromal tumors begin in the cells that hold the ovary together and produce hormones.

Ovarian cysts are different from ovarian tumors. These are fluid-filled sacs that can form in the ovaries and are common during childbearing years. Most of them are harmless and go away over time, but a very small number can be cancerous.

What Are the Risk Factors?

While the exact cause of ovarian cancer is unknown, researchers have linked it to several risk factors. You may be at risk if you:

  • Are over 55 years old
  • Have a personal or family history of cancer
  • Are overweight
  • Have never been pregnant
  • Have taken estrogen without progesterone for 10 or more years for menopausal hormone therapy

Learn more about ovarian cancer:

For more information about ovarian cancer treatment at the Methodist Cancer Center or to make an appointment, call us at 713-790-2700.

1 American Cancer Society