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Ovarian Cancer

Diagram of the female genital tract depicting fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, cervix, vagina, and vulva.

Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. Cancer is always named for the part of the body where it starts, even if it spreads to other body parts later.

When cancer starts in the ovaries, it is called ovarian cancer. Women have two ovaries that are located in the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus. The ovaries make female hormones and produce eggs.

Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. But when ovarian cancer is found in its early stages, treatment works best. Ovarian cancer often causes signs and symptoms, so it is important to pay attention to your body and know what is normal for you. Symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer, but the only way to know is to see your doctor, nurse, or other health care professional.

Changes, or mutations, in BRCA genes can raise your risk for ovarian cancer. The Know:BRCA tool can help you understand your risk of having a BRCA gene mutation.

Next: Basic Information

Featured Resources

Ovarian Cancer fact sheetOur ovarian cancer fact sheet explains who gets ovarian cancer and lists symptoms and risk factors.

Ovarian Cancers: Evolving Paradigms in Research and CareThe Institute of Medicine issued Ovarian Cancers: Evolving Paradigms in Research and Care with support from CDC.

Bring Your Brave campaign's infographic: What Every Young Woman Needs to Know About Hereditary Breast and Ovarian CancerThis infographic explains what young women need to know about hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.