Pediatric Ovarian Tumors

Pediatric Ovarian Tumors



Ovarian tumors are benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous) masses that form on one or both of a girl’s ovaries.

Expanded overview

Girls have two ovaries located on either side of their reproductive system. The ovaries produce hormones, and store and release eggs. Tumors can form on one or both ovaries, often occurring in clusters.


The cause of ovarian tumors is unknown, but research has shown the following risk factors are linked to an increased chance of developing them.

Risk factors

  • Age – a child’s risk increases as they become older
  • Age of first menstruation (period) – on average, girls begin their cycles at age 12. The earlier the beginning of the cycle, the higher the risk.
  • Family history – children with close relatives, especially their own mothers, who have had breast or ovarian cancer.
  • Total number of ovulations – the more ovulation cycles a girl experiences, the higher her risk. This can be impacted if she has been on birth control or has been pregnant.
  • Weight – girls with higher body mass indexes have an increased risk of developing ovarian tumors.


The following symptoms have been associated with ovarian tumors:

  • Back pain
  • Bloating or abdominal swelling
  • Fatigue (feeling tired)
  • Feeling unusually full
  • Frequent urination
  • Pain in the pelvis (below the stomach and in between hip bones) or abdomen (between the chest and the pelvis)
  • Palpable mass (a hard lump)
  • Upset stomach or heartburn
  • Vaginal discharge

*Age of infants, young children and adolescents as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).
**Age of reproductive years as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).

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