Ovarian epithelial cancer, fallopian tube cancer, and primary peritoneal cancer form in the same kind of tissue and are treated in the same way. These cancers are often advanced at diagnosis. Less common types of ovarian tumors include ovarian germ cell tumors and ovarian low malignant potential tumors. Explore the links on this page to learn more about treatment, prevention, screening, research, and clinical trials for these conditions.

Ovarian Epithelial, Fallopian Tube, and Primary Peritoneal Cancer Treatment

  • Ovarian epithelial cancer, fallopian tube cancer, and primary peritoneal cancer are diseases in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissue covering the ovary or lining the fallopian tube or peritoneum.
  • Ovarian epithelial cancer, fallopian tube cancer, and primary peritoneal cancer form in the same type of tissue and are treated the same way.
  • Women who have a family history of ovarian cancer are at an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
  • Some ovarian, fallopian tube, and primary peritoneal cancers are caused by inherited gene mutations (changes).
  • Women with an increased risk of ovarian cancer may consider surgery to lessen the risk.
  • Signs and symptoms of ovarian, fallopian tube, or peritoneal cancer include pain or swelling in the abdomen.
  • Tests that examine the ovaries and pelvic area are used to detect (find), diagnose, and stage ovarian, fallopian tube, and peritoneal cancer.
  • Certain factors affect treatment options and prognosis (chance of recovery).

Ovarian epithelial cancer, fallopian tube cancer, and primary peritoneal cancer are diseases in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissue covering the ovary or lining the fallopian tube or peritoneum.

The ovaries are a pair of organs in the female reproductive system. They are in the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus (the hollow, pear-shaped organ where a fetus grows). Each ovary is about the size and shape of an almond. The ovaries make eggs and female hormones (chemicals that control the way certain cells or organs work).

The fallopian tubes are a pair of long, slender tubes, one on each side of the uterus. Eggs pass from the ovaries, through the fallopian tubes, to the uterus. Cancer sometimes begins at the end of the fallopian tube near the ovary and spreads to the ovary.

The peritoneum is the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers organs in the abdomen. Primary peritoneal cancer is cancer that forms in the peritoneum and has not spread there from another part of the body. Cancer sometimes begins in the peritoneum and spreads to the ovary.

Ovarian epithelial cancer is one type of cancer that affects the ovary. See the following PDQ treatment summaries for information about other types of ovarian tumors:

  • Ovarian Germ Cell Tumors
  • Ovarian Low Malignant Potential Tumors
  • Unusual Cancers of Childhood Treatment (ovarian cancer in children)

Ovarian Germ Cell Tumors Treatment

  • Ovarian germ cell tumor is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the germ (egg) cells of the ovary.
  • Signs of ovarian germ cell tumor are swelling of the abdomen or vaginal bleeding after menopause.
  • Tests that examine the ovaries, pelvic area, blood, and ovarian tissue are used to detect (find) and diagnose ovarian germ cell tumor.
  • Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery and treatment options).

Ovarian germ cell tumor is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the germ (egg) cells of the ovary.

Germ cell tumors begin in the reproductive cells (egg or sperm) of the body. Ovarian germ cell tumors usually occur in teenage girls or young women and most often affect just one ovary.

Ovarian germ cell tumor is a general name that is used to describe several different types of cancer. The most common ovarian germ cell tumor is called dysgerminoma. See the following PDQ summaries for information about other types of ovarian tumors:

  • Ovarian Epithelial, Fallopian Tube, and Primary Peritoneal Cancer Treatment
  • Ovarian Low Malignant Potential Tumors Treatment

Ovarian Low Malignant Potential Tumors Treatment

Ovarian low malignant potential tumors have abnormal cells that may become cancer, but usually do not. This disease usually remains in the ovary. When disease is found in one ovary, the other ovary should also be checked carefully for signs of disease.

Ovarian, Fallopian Tube, and Primary Peritoneal Cancer Prevention

  • Ovarian, fallopian tube, and primary peritoneal cancers are diseases in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or peritoneum.
  • Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer of the female reproductive system.

Ovarian, Fallopian Tube, and Primary Peritoneal Cancer Screening

Scientists study screening tests to find those with the fewest harms and most benefits. Cancer screening trials also are meant to show whether early detection (finding cancer before it causes symptoms) helps a person live longer or decreases a person’s chance of dying from the disease. For some types of cancer, the chance of recovery is better if the disease is found and treated at an early stage.

 

What is Cancer?

  • Cancer can start almost anywhere in the human body, which is made up of trillions of cells. Normally, human cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old or become damaged, they die, and new cells take their place.

  • Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the risk of getting cancer. This can include maintaining a healthy lifestyle, avoiding exposure to known cancer-causing substances, and taking medicines or vaccines that can prevent cancer from developing.

  • Cancer can cause many different symptoms. Most often these symptoms are not caused by cancer, but by benign tumors or other problems. If you have symptoms that last for a couple of weeks, your doctor will do a physical exam and order tests or other procedures to find out what is causing your symptoms.