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The most common types of ovarian cancer are epithelial cancers, which arise in the lining of the ovary, fallopian tubes or the peritoneum, (the lining that covers the organs inside your abdomen). However those usually affect women who are over the age of 45 years.

In younger women, the more common types are those below, although it is possible for younger women to get epithelial cancers.

  • Borderline tumours - These are tumours that are neither completely benign nor full-blown cancer. The cells are slowly dividing and are not likely to be invasive. The treatment usually consists of surgery only.
  • Germ cell tumours - These tumours begin in the egg cells of the ovary. With this type of tumour it may be possible just to remove the affected ovary and fallopian tube to allow you to have children in the future. There is specific chemotherapy for germ cell tumours which varies from that used in other types of ovarian cancer. Types of germ cell tumours include yolk sac tumours, embryonal carcinoma, immature teratoma, choriocarcinoma, and dysgerminoma.
  • Granulosa and sertoli-leydig cell tumours - These are very rare cancers that arise in the supportive tissue of the ovary.

Find out more about types of ovarian cancer 

Find out more for younger women

General information


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Target Ovarian Cancer is an accredited member of the Information Standard Scheme. The information on this page has been developed following the schemes core principles to ensure that it is accurate and high-quality information.

Last reviewed: June 2015
Next review: June 2017