Ovarian mass / ovarian tumor in adolescents in Children

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"We developed a technique for removing ovarian masses, even very large ones, by which we can save the ovary."

Marc Laufer, MD, Chief, Division of Gynecology

Ovarian masses in infants, young girls and adolescents are enlargements of the ovaries—the organs that store and release eggs, and that produce female hormones. These masses may be cysts or tumors, and if they’re tumors, they may be cancerous or benign (non-cancerous). Tumors and cysts can appear on one or both ovaries, individually or in clusters. Sometimes, ovarian cysts (fluid-filled sacs that usually dissolve after ovulation) cause pain, but most don’t cause any problems and go away on their own.

  • Ovarian tumors are the most common tumors that babies are born with, accounting for one percent of all malignant tumors found in children from birth to the time she’s 17.
  • In girls younger than 8, four out of five ovarian tumors are benign (non-cancerous). Your daughter may need to go to the Rare Tumors Program at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center for surgery, radiation or chemotherapy if the mass is cancerous.
  • All cancer should be taken seriously, but in children and adolescents, ovarian cancer has a much higher cure rate than adult forms of ovarian cancer.
  • Benign ovarian cysts may be cured by surgically removing or draining them, but new cysts may form in the future.
  • At Boston Children’s, almost 100% of children’s ovaries are saved when removing benign cysts or tumors.

How Boston Children's Hospital approaches ovarian masses

Helping girls and young women with ovarian masses is a specialty of ours, here at the Division of Gynecology here at Boston Children's Hospital. When a child has an ovarian mass, we know that it can be extremely worrisome, even if it’s benign. We understand the diagnosis of an ovarian mass needs to be quick and accurate, and we provide the highest quality of diagnostic services and treatment.

The Division of Gynecology is home to the Center for Young Women's Health, an online resource for girls and young women with questions and concerns about gynecological issues, including ovarian tumors and cysts.

If your daughter is diagnosed with a cancerous ovarian tumor, she can receive treatment at the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center.  Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center combines the expertise of Boston Children's Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to provide comprehensive medical and surgical care for girls with cancerous ovarian tumors.

Ovarian masses and tumors: Reviewed by Marc Laufer, MD
© Boston Children’s Hospital, 2012

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