Ovarian carcinoma: Classification and screening challenges

Danielle McMullen

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Danielle R McMullen
Sixth Year Medicine (Undergraduate)
University of New South Wales

Removal of a large ovarian tumour


Primary ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynaecological malignancy and the sixth most common cause of cancer death in Australian women. Our understanding of the underlying pathophysiology of epithelial ovarian cancers is incomplete, which poses difficulties for screening, diagnosis and treatment. This review summarises the current knowledge and debate regarding classification of epithelial ovarian cancers, including a proposed new classification system. Current screening methods and the evidence behind them are also presented. The outcomes of large, ongoing trials are awaited to provide more conclusive evidence regarding the effectiveness of screening for ovarian cancer.