Pathology of Ovarian Cancer

Epithelial ovarian cancer is the umbrella term for a number of subtypes of ovarian cancer (what the cancer cells look like under the microscope), including high grade serous, endometrioid, clear cell, low-grade serous and borderline serous ovarian cancer.  The subtype (also known as pathology) of ovarian cancer can be important in determining the type of treatment you may receive (chemotherapy/hormonal/radiation) and can also help determine if any genetic testing may be appropriate for you and your family (i.e. HBOC and Lynch Syndrome).

Women with HBOC may have personal and/or family histories of high-grade serous ovarian/fallopian tube/peritoneal cancer, premenopausal breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, early onset prostate cancer and/or male breast cancer are risk factors for HBOC. Individuals from certain ethnic groups (i.e. Ashkenazi Jewish) can mean you are at increased risk for developing the high-grade serous type of ovarian cancer.

On the other hand, personal and/or family histories of clear cell/endometrioid ovarian cancer, colon and endometrial cancer are risk factors for Lynch Syndrome.

Ovarian cancer of the mucinous, germ cell or stromal cell subtypes, do not appear to be linked to known inherited cancer syndromes.


Thank you to Nat’l Race Chair Camille Grammer for hosting a successful event at her home to get the word out about the National Race to End Women’s Cancer!


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