Ovarian Cancer Facts

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Ovarian Cancer Outlook

Ovarian cancer is a disease in which cancerous cells are found inside, near or on the outer layer of the ovaries.

There are about 20,000 cases of ovarian cancer each year, with 22,280 new cases reported in 2017. Ovarian cancer caused 14,240 deaths in 2017.

Who’s Most at Risk

About one in 75 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer, though older women are more at risk for ovarian cancer. Age 63 is the average age of diagnosis.

Survival Rates

Early stages of ovarian cancer have a high rate of survival, at about 90% for stages I and II. Later stages have a survival rate of about 28%. 

Warning Signs

Ovarian cancer is also known as the "silent killer" because many women don't understand the symptoms. Symptoms aren't usually noticeable until later stages and can easily be confused with common conditions. Some of these symptoms include abdominal pain, an upset stomach, bloating, feeling full quickly and frequent urination.

Causes & Risk Factors

Though there's not a single cause for ovarian cancer, there are some factors that can increase the risk. Some causes and risk factors for ovarian cancer include:

  • Age – Most cases happen after menopause
  • Genetics – A mutation of the BRCA1/BRCA2 genes
  • No childbirth – Women who've never had children
  • Lifestyle – Including factors like smoking, obesity and inactivity
  • No contraceptives – Women who've never taken birth control pills
  • Periods – Early menstruation or late menopause
  • Family history – A close relative with gynecological cancer
  • Previous problems – Endometriosis or ovarian cysts

Treatment

Ovarian cancer can include one or more of these treatments: surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Surgery is used to remove tumors or other cancerous growths, while chemotherapy and radiation kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy uses medication to target cells throughout the body that multiply quickly. Radiation uses a precise beam of high-energy X-rays to eliminate cancer cells from a particular area.

Sources: google.com, mayoclinic.org, ovarian.org

Mercy Cancer Care

Explore Your Options

Mercy doctors and cancer specialists are skilled in diagnosing and treating ovarian cancer and can talk to you about the risks and benefits of having preventive surgery.

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