What is ovarian cancer?

Learn about the ovaries and how they can be affected by cancer. 

Symptoms of ovarian cancer

The symptoms of ovarian cancer can be very vague, particularly when the disease is in its early stages.


Risks and causes

We know there are some possible risk factors for ovarian cancer.

Types of ovarian cancer

Most ovarian cancers start in the cells covering the ovaries and are called epithelial ovarian cancers. Other rare types include germ cell tumours, stromal tumours and sarcomas.

Stages and grades

The stage tells you how big your cancer is and whether it has spread. The grade means how abnormal the cells look under the microscope. 

Diagnosing ovarian cancer

You usually start by seeing your GP. They might refer you to a specialist and organise tests.


The main treatments for ovarian cancer are surgery and chemotherapy. Your treatment depends on several factors including your cancer stage and grade.


Survival depends on many factors including the stage and type of your ovarian cancer. 

Research and clinical trials

Research trials aim to find out if new treatments are safe and better than those currently available for ovarian cancer.

Living with ovarian cancer

Getting practical and emotional support can help you cope with a diagnosis of cancer.

Last reviewed: 
25 Nov 2021
Next review due: 
25 Nov 2024
Coronavirus and cancer

We know it’s a worrying time for people with cancer, we have information to help.

Read our information about coronavirus and cancer