What do ovarian cancer patients need to know about subtypes? Expert Dr. Ebony Hoskins explains ovarian cancer subtypes and shares questions to ask your doctor.
Dr. Hoskins is a board-certified gynecologic oncologist at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and assistant professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology at Georgetown University Medical Center. Hoskins sees women for gynecological malignancies, which include the treatment of endometrial, ovarian, vulva, vaginal and cervical cancers.
“…understand the subtype, not only just the stage and also, kind of again, what will be the treatment options based off the subtype and stage.”
Dr. Hoskins, what are the various subtypes of ovarian cancer?
Dr. Ebony Hoskins:
Well, you want to get complicated. I’ll try to make it really simple. [laughter] So when we typically you may hear people say, oh, such and such had ovarian cancer, they’re typically talking about someone who has an epithelial ovarian cancer. There are actually two other subtypes of ovarian cancer. There’s sex cord-stromal tumors, and there’s germ cell tumor. And these are all kind of tumors based off of the origin of the cancer, if you will, from the ovary. When we’re talking here today, I’m going to refer mainly to the epithelial type of ovarian cancer, because that’s the most common type. The most common type is a high-grade serous carcinoma. There’s low-grade serous carcinoma.
There’s endometrioid carcinoma, clear, serous carcinoma, carcinoma sarcoma. So there are different subtypes, and how we treat them sometimes are the same and sometimes they’re different. It all kind of depends on it. So my activation tip for a patient would be understand the subtype, not only just the stage and also, kind of again, what will be the treatment options based off the subtype and stage.