Ovarian cancer is a disease in which there is rapid division and growth of cells in one or both the ovaries. It is also known as the 'silent killer' because most often the symptoms go unnoticed until the disease advances. It is the fifth most common cancer in women and affects the ovaries, which are the female reproductive organs that produces the ova or the egg. Ovaries also secrete the sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone and are two in number. They are located within the pelvic region on either side of the uterus.
Ovarian cancer is responsible for 5% of the total cancer deaths among women. Early detection of ovarian cancer increases the woman's chances of survival. Other factors that affect the survival rates are age, stage of cancer, and tissue type.
The ovaries contain cells which multiply to maintain tissue health, but when the growth control is lost, cells divide faster resulting in a cellular mass or tumor. If it does not invade the surrounding tissue and is confined to a few layers then it is a benign tumor. On the other hand if the tumor spreads to surrounding tissues and organs, it is considered malignant.