Ovarian Cancer (cont.)

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What are ovarian cancer statistics?

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), in 2013 there will be an estimated 22,240 new cases of ovarian cancer and 14,030 deaths from the disease. The vast majority of the cases are EOC and are found at stage 3 or later, meaning the cancer has spread beyond the pelvis or to the lymph nodes. This is mostly due to the lack of definite symptoms at the early stages of development of the disease process. An individual woman has a lifetime risk of 1.37%, thus it is an uncommon disease. The median age of diagnosis is 63. However, approximately 25% of cases are diagnosed between ages 35 and 54. Caucasian women have the highest rate of diagnosis.

Like many other cancers, when ovarian cancer is found at an early stage (for example, localized to the ovary or fallopian tube) the survival at five years is very good. Most women at stage 1 will still be alive at five years. However, the five-year survival for all women diagnosed with ovarian cancer is only 45%. This is because it is often found at an advanced stage in which the disease has already spread within the abdomen.

Survival is also dependent on the type of care the patient receives. Unfortunately, approximately half of all women with the disease are never referred to a gynecologic oncologist. These are physicians with special training in gynecologic (ovarian, uterine, cervical, vulvar, and vaginal) cancers. If a woman does not involve a doctor with this specialized training in her care, then studies show very clearly that her survival is significantly worse, often by many years. For this reason, every woman with this disease ideally will obtain a referral to a gynecologic oncologist before she starts any treatment or has any surgery.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/6/2015

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