Basics

Every year, over 20,000 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in the United States. Unfortunately, over 15,000 women lose their fight with this cancer each year, making it the most deadly gynecologic cancer.

There are 3 major sub-types of ovarian cancer, comprising over 30 different types of ovarian tumor. Not all ovarian tumors are malignant and others have uncertain malignant potential. Malignant tumors have often spread to other parts of the body at time of diagnosis.

There is currently no effective method of detecting ovarian cancer. Consequently, over 75% of ovarian cancers are diagnosed in advanced stages and of these women, over 70% will ultimately recur. The overall 5-year survival for ovarian cancer is less than 50%, but the 5-year survival rate is over 90% if the cancer is caught in the early stages.

Overall survival is most closely related to stage of disease and amount of tumor left after primary surgical intervention. Many studies have shown that women operated on by a gynecologic oncologist have superior overall survival rates when compared to other types of surgeons. This is primarily due to the fact that gynecologic oncologists are more likely to achieve optimal debulking of the tumor.

Learn about the different types of ovarian cancer