Ovarian Teratoma

Definition - What does Ovarian Teratoma mean?

An ovarian teratoma is a tumor found in the ovary. The type of tumor is called a germ cell tumor, and may be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous). Germ cell tumors are very uncommon; less then 2% of cases of cancer are germ cell related. While ovarian teratoma is typically considered treatable, in some cases the treatment may involve surgical removal of one or both ovaries, resulting in ovarian-based infertility.

FertilitySmarts explains Ovarian Teratoma

There are two types of ovarian teratomas:

  • Mature teratoma. A mature teratoma, also called a dermoid cyst, is a non-cancerous growth. Treatment of a mature teratoma is surgical removal, at which point the condition is considered cured.
  • Immature teratoma. An immature teratoma is cancerous. Treatment and prognosis depend on the stage of cancer at the time of diagnosis. In some cases surgical removal is the course of treatment, however, for more advanced cases, chemotherapy may be required.

Ovarian teratomas are most often found in women between their teenage years and early 40s. Therefore, fertility preservation tactics are considered for women who wish to conceive. While treatment is dependent upon an individual woman’s condition, options such as leaving a portion of the ovary, or only removing one ovary, may help to conserve a woman’s ability to reproduce. Women diagnosed with an ovarian teratoma should consult their physicians to discuss fertility preservation tactics.

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