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The ovaries are part of your reproductive system. This is in the lower part of your tummy, in the area between your hips (called the pelvis). Your reproductive system is made up of body parts like your vagina and the organs involved in getting pregnant and carrying a baby.
The ovaries and their surrounding structures
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Your reproductive system is made up of the:
There are different types of ovarian cancer. The most common type, which usually affects older women, is called epithelial ovarian cancer (or ovarian carcinoma).
For more information about ovarian cancer in older women please see our broader ovarian cancer| section.
Rarely, teenage girls and young women can get a type of ovarian cancer called a germ cell tumour of the ovary. This starts in the egg-producing cells of the ovary. These tumours behave differently to epithelial ovarian cancer, and they're treated in a different way. Germ cell ovarian tumours are usually cured with treatment.
There are 3 main types of ovarian cancer:
Teenagers are mostly affected by the germ cell tumour type. You may hear your type of germ cell tumour being called:
Your specialist will explain more about the type of germ cell tumour that you have. If you have a type of ovarian cancer or germ cell tumour that's not listed here, talk to one of our cancer support specialists| to find out more.
We don’t fully understand what causes germ cell tumours. Germ cells are a normal part of the ovary but sometimes, changes in these cells make them divide and grow too quickly and they form a tumour.
Content last reviewed: 1 June 2012
Next planned review: 2014
For answers, support or just a chat, call the Macmillan Support Line free (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm)
If you have any questions about cancer, need support or just want someone to talk to, ask Macmillan.
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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