Ovarian Cancer: A Guide for Patients

Guides for Patients are designed to assist patients, their relatives and caregivers to better understand the nature of different types of cancer and evaluate the best available treatment choices.

What is ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that forms in ovarian tissues. The ovaries are the female reproductive organs in which the egg cells are formed and female hormones are produced. Ovarian cancers either arise from the cells of the surface of the ovary - a form called epithelial ovarian cancer, which is also the most frequent type of ovarian cancer, or from other tissues within the ovary (non‐epithelial ovarian cancer). Both terms refer to a diverse group of different ovarian cancer subtypes.

Beyond a definition of ovarian cancer, in this guide you will also find answers to questions such as:

  • Is ovarian cancer frequent?
  • What causes ovarian cancer?
  • How is ovarian cancer diagnosed?
  • What is it important to know to define the optimal treatment?
  • What are the treatment options?
  • What are the possible side effects of the treatment?
  • What happens after the treatment?

This guide for patients has been prepared in collaboration with Anticancer Fund as a service to patients, to help patients and their relatives better understand the nature of Ovarian Cancer and appreciate the best treatment choices available according to the subtype of Ovarian Cancer. ESMO recommends that patients ask their doctors about what tests or types of treatments are needed for their type and stage of disease.

Patient Guides for Ovarian Cancer were published in 2014.