About Ovarian Cancer
What is Ovarian Cancer?
Ovarian cancer affects about 1 in 71 women in their lifetime.
Ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cancer in women, though it ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women.
There is no screening test for ovarian cancer.
Several types of tumors can originate in the ovaries. Some are benign, or non-cancerous, and a patient may be treated simply by surgically removing part or all of the ovary containing the tumor. Some tumors, however, are malignant, or cancerous. The treatment options and the patient’s outcome depend on the type of ovarian cancer and how far it has spread before it is diagnosed (its stage).
- Epithelial tumors, from epithelial cells, which form the outer layer of the ovary
- Germ cell tumors, from germ cells, which are found inside the ovary and develop into eggs
- Stromal tumors, from stromal cells, which hold the ovary together and produces female hormones
85-90% of ovarian cancers are epithelial ovarian carcinomas. About 2% of ovarian cancers are germ cell tumors. About 1% of ovarian cancers are ovarian stromal cell tumors.
Ovarian cancer is often difficult to detect in its early stages. Because of this, it often progresses to an advanced stage before being detected. In fact, 77 percent of women are diagnosed after the disease has reached an advanced stage.
Despite advancements in surgery and chemotherapy treatments, the overall five-year survival rate for women with advanced stage ovarian cancer has remained constant over the past 30 years at approximately 30 percent. However, women diagnosed with early stage (Stage I) disease have an overall five-year survival rate near 90-95 percent. Clearly, early-stage detection of ovarian cancer is the best way to improve survival.
Source: American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org)
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