Ovarian Cancer Overview

Ovarian Cancer Facts:

–Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.

–In 2014, the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that there will be approximately 21,980 new ovarian cancer cases diagnosed in the U.S. ACS estimates that 14,270 U.S. women will die from the disease, or about 40 women per day. The loss of life is equivalent to 28 Boeing 747 jumbo jet crashes with no survivors every year.

–Ovarian cancer is not a “silent” disease; it is a “subtle” disease. Recent studies indicate that some women may experience persistent, nonspecific symptoms, such as (i) bloating, (ii) pelvic or abdominal pain, (iii) difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, or (iv) urinary urgency or frequency. Women who experience such symptoms daily for more than a few weeks should seek prompt medical evaluation.

–Ovarian cancer can afflict adolescent, young adult, and mature women.

–Pregnancy and the long-term use of oral contraceptives reduce the risk of developing ovarian cancer.

–Women who have had breast cancer, or who have a family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer may have increased risk. Inherited mutations in BRCA1/BRCA2 genes increase risk. Women of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry are at higher risk for BRCA gene mutations.

–There is no reliable screening test for the detection of early stage ovarian cancer. Pelvic examination only occasionally detects ovarian cancer, generally when the disease is advanced. A Pap smear cannot detect ovarian cancer. However, the combination of a thorough pelvic exam, transvaginal ultrasound, and a blood test for the tumor marker CA125 may be offered to women who are at high risk of ovarian cancer and to women who have persistent, unexplained symptoms like those listed above.

–If diagnosed at the localized stage, the 5-year ovarian cancer survival rate is 92%; however, only about 19% of all cases are detected at this stage, usually fortuitously during another medical procedure.

–The 10-year relative survival rate for all disease stages combined is only 38%.

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The Tumor Microenvironment – How Do the Normal Cells Surrounding a Tumor Affect a Cancer’s Growth?, by Lynn Matrisian, PhD, professor of cancer biology at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn, American Association For Cancer Research, June 25, 2007.

Ten Things To Do If You Suspect You Have Ovarian Cancer. Excerpted from the book, Ovarian Cancer: Your Guide to Taking Control by Kristine Conner and Lauren Langford, O’Reilly & Associates, Sebastopol CA, May 2003.

What is Ovarian Cancer? What Causes Ovarian Cancer?, Medical News Today Archive, August 4, 2009.

What You Need to Know About Ovarian Cancer Booklet , National Cancer Institute, July 17, 2006. [ Link to PDF Document here ].

Ovarian Cancer — National Cancer Institute.

Ovarian Cancer Overview — Mayo Foundation For Medical Education and Research, November 11, 2008.

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Ovarian Cancer:  An Overview, Women’s Cancer Network, Gynecologic Cancer Foundation.

What is Ovarian Cancer — National Ovarian Cancer Coalition [What Everyone Should Know About Ovarian Cancer, PDF Adobe Reader Document].

2007 Ovarian Cancer Survivors’ Course – Part I, New York University (NYU) Medical Center,New York, NY – Oct 20th, 2007, sponsored by The Gynecologic Cancer Foundation, Fora.tv (1 hour video)

2007 Ovarian Cancer Survivors’ Course – Part II, New York University (NYU) Medical Center,New York, NY – Oct 20th, 2007, sponsored by The Gynecologic Cancer Foundation, Fora.tv (1 hour video)

What Every Woman Should Know About Ovarian Cancer , Johns Hopkins Medical Institute, July 29, 2003.

Guide to Ovarian Cancer, Uptodate.com, May, 2009.

Ovarian Cancer — eMedicine, Medscape.com, December 13, 2007.

Ovarian Cancer – Overview — Cancer.net (Oncologist approved cancer information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)), December 2008.

Ovarian Cancer: The Basics, OncoLink, Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, March 6, 2008.

Ovarian Cancer — MedlinePlus, U.S. Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health, November 13, 2009.

Ovarian Cancer: The Facts — The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, Inc. (OCRF).

Update On Ovarian Cancer, Cancer Care Connect®, CancerCare.org.(PDF Adobe Reader Document)

Ovarian Cancer: Overview, Health Guide — New York Times website, December 24, 2008.

Ovarian Cancer: Overview — University of Florida, Shands Cancer Center.


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