Ovarian Epithelial Tumors affects the cells found in the tissue that covers the ovaries (the epithelial cells). When examined under a microscope, a tumor will be defined as benign, of low malignant potential (LMP) or of malignant potential (a carcinoma).
Benign Epithelial Ovarian Tumors
Most Ovarian Epithelial Tumors are benign. Benign tumors are not at risk of spreading and don’t usually lead to illness. There are different types of benign ovarian tumors, including serous adenoma, Brenner tumor and mucinous adenoma. Removing the affected tissue, with no further treatment required, can usually treat benign tumors.
LMP Tumors (also known as borderline epithelial ovarian cancer)
Tumors of low malignant potential don’t present as being definitely cancerous when inspected under a microscope. LPM tumors differ from most ovarian cancers as they don’t grow in the tissue that supports the ovary (the stroma). LMP tumors can spread outside the ovary into, the abdominal and pelvic regions. LMP tumors affect younger women than most ovarian cancers. They grow more slowly and don’t tend to be life-threatening. With effective diagnosis and treatment, LMP tumors are very much treatable.
Malignant Epithelial Ovarian Tumors (Carcinomas)
Ovarian epithelial carcinomas account for around 85% of all ovarian cancers. Epithelial ovarian cancer tumors have distinct features that classify them into subtypes. The most common type of epithelial ovarian carcinoma is serous, but there are other types like mucinous, clear cell and endometrioid. If a cell can’t be defined as one of the four types of carcinoma, it is undifferentiated. Undifferentiated epithelial ovarian carcinomas usually grow and metastasize more quickly than the other four types.
As well as typing epithelial ovarian cancer, the disease is also given a grade and stage, based on the tumor’s resemblance to normal tissue. Graded 1-3, grade 1 tissue has a greater resemblance to healthy tissue, whilst grade 3 epithelial ovarian cancer bears the least resemblance to normal, healthy tissue. Grade 1 epithelial ovarian cancer has a better prognosis and is more treatable than grades 2 or 3. The stage of the cancer depends on how far the tumor has spread from its starting point in the ovary. Usually, epithelial ovarian cancers spread initially to the lining and organs found within the abdomen and pelvis. As the disease progresses, it may spread to the liver or lung and (very rarely) to the bones, brain or skin.
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