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- Ovarian Cancer FAQs
- Patient Comments: Ovarian Cancer - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Ovarian Cancer - Treatments
- Patient Comments: Ovarian Cancer - Diagnosis
- Patient Comments: Ovarian Cancer - Stages
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- Ovarian cancer facts
- What is ovarian cancer?
- Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC)
- Ovarian low malignant potential tumor (OLMPT; borderline tumor)
- Germ cell ovarian cancers
- Stromal ovarian cancers
- What are ovarian cancer statistics?
- What are ovarian cancer risk factors?
- What are ovarian cancer symptoms and signs?
- How is ovarian cancer diagnosed?
- How is ovarian cancer staging determined?
- What is the treatment for ovarian cancer?
- What is the survival rate and prognosis of ovarian cancer?
- Can ovarian cancer be prevented?
- How does one cope with ovarian cancer?
Quick GuideOvarian Cancer Symptoms, Signs, Stages
What are ovarian cancer statistics?
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), in 2015 there were an estimated 21,290 new cases of ovarian cancer and 14,180 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 cancer growth. Around 1.3% of women will be diagnosed with cancer of the ovary at some point in life, thus it is relatively rare. 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 5 years is very good (about 92%); most women at stage 1 will still be alive at 5 years. However, the 5-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. Women suspected of having ovarian cancer should be 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 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.