Blog Women's Health

Ovarian Cancer Terms to Know

In case you have been recognized with ovarian cancer, then there has undoubtedly been a number of the phrases under thrown round. Perhaps you don’t feel like you’ve the additional time to ask your physician, or you want to perform a little extra research on your own. Both approach, under is an inventory of terms and their definitions typically used with ovarian most cancers.

To study more about help and/or medical trials, visit our Assets web page. For extra info on ovarian most cancers typically, reminiscent of staging and coverings, visit our full Ovarian Cancer article. We also have details about interventions for ovarian cancer during a being pregnant.

We wish you a swift and profitable battle with ovarian most cancers.

Terms to know


Adjuvant chemotherapy – refers to when chemotherapy is given, in this case, after a conservative or debulking surgery to remove a cancerous progress(s).

Aggressive – when a most cancers is labeled this manner, it signifies that the most cancers’s progress fee and metastasis price are extremely speedy. In this state, cancerous growths might develop and spread quicker than therapies resembling chemo, radiation, or surgical procedure can forestall it.

Ascites – an above regular amount of fluid in the stomach cavity. In later stage ovarian most cancers, that is brought on by a metastasis to the peritoneum from cancer cells sloughing off a main progress. The gathering of cells and cellular elements within the stomach cavity consists of cancerous cells and pro-inflammatory, tumor-promoting proteins and cofactors. The fluid reaches some extent the place it might not drain as fast as it’s being produced. Inflammation and leakage from the tumor contribute to the excess fluid.


Benign – if a tumor known as “benign,” it does not yet mirror a cancerous progress. It might continue to be referred to as a tumor. [also:  noncancerous]

Biopsy – a sample of tissue or fluid is eliminated during a medical procedure, corresponding to surgery, and despatched to a lab for further testing. In ovarian most cancers, this is often to determine if the tumor is cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign).

Bladder – stores urine that the kidneys produce. Because it sits proper under the uterus, cancerous growths can sometimes unfold here.


CA 125 – this can be a most cancers marker “Cancer Antigen 125” that may be examined for to affirm a malignancy. It isn’t current on noncancerous cells. The check just isn’t achieved in all instances of suspected ovarian cancer.

Cervix – the pathway between the vagina and the uterus, and is taken into account the decrease finish of the uterus. It is often tightly closed. Ovarian most cancers can sometimes metastasize here.

Chemotherapy – this refers to using robust medicines or medicine to battle and kill most cancers. Most chemotherapy includes a medley of a number of chemo medicine on the similar time. It’s because every chemo drug is restricted for different elements of the cancer cell and/or its life cycle; this manner, most cancers cells could be attacked from a number of angles directly. For extra info on the forms of chemo medicine obtainable, go to the American Cancer Society’s website. There are a number of alternative ways to take chemotherapy medicine:

  • Intravenously (IV) – liquid chemo medicine is run instantly into a vein and reaches the complete body by means of the venous system.
  • Intraperitoneally (IP) – this avenue first requires that a “port” be put in. This port will permit the liquid chemo medicine to stream immediately all through the peritoneum (a skinny tissue that encases a lot of the stomach organs), which increases the concentration of the chemo flowing immediately to the most cancers. IP is usually used at the side of IV when treating ovarian cancer.
  • Orally – this sort is much less typically used and is usually costlier. It can be taken in capsule or liquid type at house and reaches your complete physique. It does ship a dose as robust as IV chemotherapy. This remedy is just not as widespread for ovarian most cancers.

Chemotherapy can be utilized earlier than or after surgery to remove visible, giant, or especially problematic cancerous growths. Usually, it’s used to remedy cancer, control the unfold or measurement, or to extend the life of someone with terminal cancer. Chemo throughout being pregnant is simply recommended within the 2nd and third trimesters, though it is steered to receive chemotherapy after start. No confirmed proof of fetal malformations or toxicity has been revealed, although long-term effects on the infant haven’t been adequately studied. [also:  chemo]

Conservative surgical procedure – when full debulking surgery can’t be accomplished instantly (for reasons akin to illness or being pregnant), that is carried out to take away a few of the bigger/extra accessible cancerous growths after a most cancers analysis.

Cystectomy – this refers to the removing of the bladder. This can be essential with superior ovarian cancer if it has metastasized to the bladder. Ovarian Cystectomy refers to the removing of a cyst(s) on the ovary which can or will not be related to cancer.

Cytology – fairly usually, the research of cells. A cytology report from a hospital laboratory is usually run on any fluid samples (corresponding to ascites) when a biopsy is taken to decide if an ovarian tumor is cancerous or not. The fluid is checked for the presence of malignant cells and for tumor markers corresponding to CA 125 and alpha fetoprotein (AFP). This, along with histological studies, determines the grade of cancer (how differentiated the cells remain). Some researchers consider that an early check of the fluid of an ovarian tumor (effective needle aspiration) guided by ultrasonography, might permit an earlier analysis and thus a greater prognosis.


Doppler – an added method to an ultrasound. An ultrasound can visualize buildings, but with Shade or Spectral Doppler, you can even see vascular motion and stream. This may also help determine the movement of blood to determine blockages or if a mass is vascularized (has blood circulate). Vascularized giant tumors are more doubtless to be malignant than benign.


Epithelial cell cancer – this refers to most cancers that begins within the cells which type the surface layer of the ovary and is often referred to as ovarian carcinoma. Such a ovarian most cancers accounts for 85 – 90% of all ovarian cancers and is usually probably the most dangerous due to late analysis. Nevertheless, most epithelial tumors are benign.


Fallopian tubes – these are skinny tubes lined with cilia (tiny projections of a cell that act as movable “hairs”) that connect the ovaries and the uterus. The egg travels down and is fertilized in the fallopian tubes when a pregnancy happens. These are often eliminated along with the ovaries or the uterus. The removing is known as a salpingectomy.


Germ cell most cancers – this refers to cancer that begins in the cells within the ovaries that produce eggs. Like epithelial cell tumors, most are benign. Once they grow to be malignant, the most typical germ cell cancers are teratomas, endodermal sinus tumors, and dysgerminomas. This cancer is commonest amongst teens and 20-somethings. These days, it is highly survivable, and lots of occasions a lady can remain fertile after remedy.


Histology – the research of cells underneath a microscope. Microscope slides with a particularly skinny part of tissue taken from a biopsy sample can be reviewed with totally different stains to mark totally different parts of the cell. This can be a essential step within the diagnostic process. [also:  histopathology]

Hysterectomy – the removing of the uterus. A partial hysterectomy means solely a portion or the whole thing of the uterus is removed, while a full hysterectomy might embrace the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and/or cervix. If a cancerous progress spreads to the uterus from ovarian most cancers, a hysterectomy could also be crucial or prompt.


Laparoscopy – the insertion of a small, fiber-optic instrument is inserted underneath the pores and skin to visualize the stomach cavity. It typically offers steerage for a surgical procedure.

Laparotomy – a surgical incision into the abdomen that permits entry to the stomach cavity. Carried out throughout diagnostic and/or debulking surgical procedures.

Lymph nodes – these bean-like buildings are the “checkpoints” of the lymph system, which is a part of the body’s immune system. The lymph system is the body’s sewer system and helps to clean out toxins and different particles from the physique. Lymph fluid and white blood cells move by means of nodes all through the body and filter these particles out. Ovarian cancer can spread to lymph nodes, akin to ones in the omentum.


Malignant – if a tumor known as “malignant,” it means a analysis of cancer. [also:  malignancy, cancerous]

Metastasize – refers to the movement to and progress of cancer cells in a part of the physique during which it did not originate. When a tumor metastasizes, this sometimes means a later stage of cancer and is often harder to deal with. [also:  metastasis, metastases, metastatic]


Neoadjuvant chemotherapy – chemotherapy treatment given before surgical procedure to take away the cancerous progress(s).


Omentectomy – this refers to the removing of the omentum (see next definition). Typically, ovarian most cancers can unfold to the lymph nodes on the omentum. An omentectomy may be partial (solely the affected section) or complete/supracolic (your complete omentum).

Omentum – a skinny layer of fatty stomach tissue overlaying the stomach, small and enormous intestines, in addition to other stomach organs. It is a sort of visceral peritoneum. If metastatic ovarian most cancers spreads to the omentum, it might need to be surgically eliminated by means of an omentectomy.

Ovaries – feminine reproductive organs that produce female intercourse hormones and retailer, mature, and launch eggs. Every ovary (right and left ovaries) is related to the uterus by a fallopian tube. That is the location the place ovarian most cancers starts and may contain the stromal cells, epithelial cells, or the germ cells.

Ovarian Cyst – a fluid-filled sac that originates on the ovaries. These usually are not unusual, and sometimes usually are not a concern until they burst, grow quickly, there are a number of cysts, and/or cause ache, bleeding, or swelling.


Peritoneum – the skinny layer of tissue that separates the underside of the skin from a majority of the organs of the stomach.


Radiation remedy – using a guided beam of radioactive particles to assault cancer at the website. This is not typically used to treat ovarian cancer, however in certain instances could also be.


Salpingectomy – the removing of the fallopian tubes. This surgical procedure might be unilateral (one tube) or bilateral (each tubes).

Salpingo-oophorectomy – the removing of the ovaries (oophor) and the fallopian tubes (salpingo). A unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy only includes one set, and bilateral removes both units (right and left sides).

Stromal cell cancer – this refers to most cancers that begins within the cells of the ovary that act as connective tissue and launch sex hormones. There are two fundamental kinds of stromal cell cancers:  Sertoli-Leydig cell tumors (SLCT) and granulosa cell tumors (GCT). These are each very rare, with GCTs solely accounting for 2% of ovarian cancers. SLCT happens in cells that produce a male sex hormone and trigger male traits when cancerous. GCTs might begin from totally different cell varieties, together with theca, granulosa, and fibroblasts. Stromal cell tumors sometimes present early and are thought-about low-grade.


Tumor Debulking [surgery] – when ovarian cancer is recognized, sometimes the first remedy is a debulking surgery, which refers to the removing of as much of the visible cancerous progress within the stomach cavity. If the most cancers is hidden or in a complicated stage, the surgeon is probably not in a position to remove all pieces. Typically, debulking is followed by chemotherapy, or less generally, radiation therapy.


Ultrasound – a medical method utilizing a machine that emits high-frequency sound waves to see a stay image of organs underneath the pores and skin. Typically used for screening and analysis of various illnesses and circumstances, and most commonly used in ladies throughout being pregnant. When you’ve got symptoms within the lower abdomen/reproductive organ region, an ultrasound could also be used to verify the organs for any abnormalities. [also:  sonogram]

Uterus – this is the female reproductive organ above the cervix. Normally, it is the measurement of an orange but can stretch about 20 occasions its measurement to maintain a creating baby throughout being pregnant. The ovaries are hooked up to every prime nook by fallopian tubes. Ovarian most cancers can typically metastasize right here, finally requiring a full hysterectomy if not wanting to preserve fertility.

For more info

In case you have been recognized with ovarian most cancers or a tumor on or near the ovaries, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor as many questions as you’ve. Keep in mind, your doctor is your advocate! And the APA needs to be your advocate as nicely, which is why we would like you to have all the knowledge you need to move ahead with a remedy plan and together with your life! It might be useful to hold a notebook with you throughout the day in order that as questions come up in your physician, you’ll be able to jot them down and not overlook them.

There are communities of help out there for you. To study more about help and/or medical trials, go to our Assets web page. For extra info on ovarian cancer typically, resembling staging and coverings, go to our full Ovarian Cancer article. We even have details about interventions for ovarian cancer during a being pregnant.

Final updated: September 20, 2017 at 13:02 pm

Compiled using info from the following sources:

1. National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC): Varieties & Levels of Ovarian Cancer.

2. Mayo Clinic: Bladder Removing Surgery (cystectomy).

three. American Cancer Society (ACS): Chemotherapy.

4. Moffit Cancer Middle: Omentectomy for Ovarian Cancer.

5. Medline Plus (underneath the Nationwide Institutes of Health): Sertoli-Leydig Cell Tumor.

6. Ruddon, R. W. (2003). What Makes a Cancer Cell a Cancer Cell? Retrieved online from NCBI.

7. Bandyopadhyay, A., Chakraborty, J., Chowdhury, A. R., Bhattacharya, A., Bhattachrya, P., & Chowdhury, M. (2012). Positive needle aspiration cytology of ovarian tumors with histological correlation. Journal of Cytology, 29(1), 35–40.

8. Yoshimura, S., Scully, R. E., Taft, P. D., & Herrington, J. B. (1984). Peritoneal fluid cytology in patients with ovarian most cancers. Gynecologic Oncology, 17(2), 161–7. Retrieved from

9. Imaginis: The Ladies’s Health Useful resource. Remedy – Ovarian Cancer.

10. Ahmed, N., & Stenvers, Okay. L. (2013). Getting to know ovarian cancer ascites: opportunities for targeted therapy-based translational analysis. Frontiers in Oncology, 3, 256.

11. Shah, D., Shah, S., Parikh, J., Bhatt, C. J., Vaishnav, Okay., & Bala, D. V. (2013). Doppler ultrasound: a great and dependable predictor of ovarian malignancy. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of India, 63(3), 186–9.

12. Nationwide Cancer Institute: Dictionary of Cancer Terms. Lymph Nodes.