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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.


If ovarian and fallopian tube cancers are diagnosed and treated before they spread outside the ovaries and tubes, the general 5-year survival rate is about 92%.  Ovarian cancer is relatively rare. Approximately 1.3% of women in the United States will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer at some point during their lifetime. Ovarian cancer is most frequently diagnosed among women aged 55-64.

In 2017, it is estimated to be 22,440 new cases of ovarian cancer in the United States (23).


Age-specific incidence of ovarian cancer, 2010–2014.

Source: National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, USA



Incidence of ovarian cancer, 1975–2014.

Source: National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, USA

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