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Ovarian and fallopian tube cancer

Adnex, illustration

Ovarian cancer includes multiple tumor types:

  • Epithelial ovarian cancer of type: 
    • Invasive
    • Borderline
    • Primary peritoneal carcinoma
  • Non-epithelial ovarian cancer originates from:
    • Germinal cells (chyme cells)
    • Sex cord tumors
    • Stroma cells (thecomas/fibromas)

Fallopian tube cancer is clinically difficult to differentiate from ovarian cancer. Symptoms, diagnostics, and treatment are the same as ovarian cancer. The same applies for primary peritoneal carcinoma.

Criteria for diagnosing primary peritoneal carcinoma: 

  • Both ovaries should be of normal size or be enlarged from a benign disease. 
  • More tumor volume should be visible outside the ovaries than on the surface of the ovaries. 
  • Tumor cells should be limited to the surface of the ovaries, or have maximum stromal invasion of 5 millimeters. 

This disease diagnosis is not given to patients treated with chemotherapy before the operation.

Adnexa of uterus refer to the anatomical structures of the uterus including the ovaries, fallopian tubes and broad ligaments.


Ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cancer form in women in Norway. In 2013, there were 388 new cases registered in Norway. The incidence increases with age. The average age at the time of diagnosis is 59 years.

  • Epithelial ovarian cancer constitutes 90%. There are about 50 new cases of borderline tumors annually.
  • There are about 45 new cases of non-epithelial ovarian cancers annually.

Fallopian tube cancer is very rare amounting to about 10 new cases annually. This constitutes 0.3–1% of all gynecological cancers. This number is likely underestimated due to strict macroscopic and microscopic criteria that must be filled before the disease is diagnosed. The median age at the time of diagnosis is 60 years.

Primary peritoneal carcinoma is difficult to differentiate from ovarian cancer, therefore, there are no reliable data on incidence.



Age-specific incidence of ovarian cancer, 2009–2013.

Source: Cancer Registry of Norway



Incidence of ovarian cancer, 1954–2013.

Source: Cancer Registry of Norway

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