What every woman should know.

Ovarian cancer is a serious and under-recognized threat to women's health.

  • Ovarian cancer kills more women than any other any cancer of the female genital tract
  • Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States.
  • Ovarian cancer occurs in 1 in 78 women during their lifetime.
  • A woman’s lifetime chance of dying from ovarian cancer is about 1 in 108.
  • It has been estimated that 13,980 women will die from ovarian cancer in 2019 and 22,530 will be diagnosed.
  • The mean age of patients with high-grade serous carcinoma, the most common and most lethal type of ovarian cancer is 63 years. It is more common in white women than African-American women.
  • In the U.S., overall ovarian cancer incidence declined by 29% from 1985 (16.6 per 100,000) to 2014 (11.8 per 100,000), while mortality declined 33% from 1976 (10.0 per 100,000) to 2015 (6.7 per 100,000).
  • As per Ovarian Cancer Statistics, 2018, decreases in ovarian cancer incidence have larger been a result of fewer cases in white women (which had accelerated during the past decade).
  • Declines in ovarian cancer mortality are due to reductions in incidence as well as improvements in treatment.
  • The strongest risk factor for ovarian cancer is a family history of breast or ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is very treatable when caught early

The vast majority of cases are not diagnosed until too late:

  • Only 24% of ovarian cancers are caught early.
  • The most important prognostic factor for patients with high-grade serous type ovarian carcinoma is stage (how far the tumor has spread).
  • By the time patients become symptomatic, they have advanced stage disease in approximately 75–80% of cases.
  • Less than 25% of patients with stage III/IV high-grade serous type ovarian carcinoma will be cured by current therapies.

Ovarian cancer is difficult to diagnose

  • Some large scale randomized clinical studies to identify effective screening modalities are ongoing.
  • So far, the efficacy of screening for ovarian cancer has not been demonstrated in prospective randomized controlled trials. Thus, there is no reliable recommended screening testing for the early detection of ovarian cancer.
  • Diagnosis is often delayed because symptoms are non-specific.
  • Imaging studies reveal large, complex, hypervascular pelvic masses, ascites and omental/peritoneal nodules.
  • Serum CA-125 is usually elevated with median values in the range of 500–1000 U/ml for advanced stage disease. However, this marker, as well as transvaginal ultrasound, are not recommended as screening modalities.
  • Presenting symptoms are relatively nonspecific. Learn More