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Ovarian Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Screening - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Description of the Evidence

Background

Incidence and mortality

Recommended Related to Ovarian Cancer

Cellular Classification of Ovarian Epithelial Cancer

The following is a list of ovarian epithelial cancer histologic classifications. Serous cystomas: Serous benign cystadenomas.Serous cystadenomas with proliferating activity of the epithelial cells and nuclear abnormalities but with no infiltrative destructive growth (low potential or borderline malignancy).Serous cystadenocarcinomas. Mucinous cystomas: Mucinous benign cystadenomas.Mucinous cystadenomas with proliferating activity of the epithelial cells and nuclear abnormalities but with...

Read the Cellular Classification of Ovarian Epithelial Cancer article > >

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States and has the highest mortality rate of all gynecologic cancers.[1] It is estimated that 22,240 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2013, and 14,030 women will die of this disease.[1] The median age at diagnosis is 63 years.[2] The prognosis for survival from ovarian cancer largely depends on the extent of disease at diagnosis. The overall 5-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is lower than 50%. Only about 15% of women present with localized disease at diagnosis.[1,2]

From 2005 to 2009, incidence rates decreased by 0.9% per year, and mortality rates decreased by 2.0% per year.[1]

Ovarian cancer is rare; the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer is 1.38%.[2]

Types of Ovarian Cancer

The term "ovarian cancer" encompasses a heterogeneous group of malignant tumors of ovarian origin that may arise from germ cells, stromal tissue, or epithelial tissue within the ovary. Malignant germ cell tumors and stromal tumors such as granulose cell tumors are rare and account for 10% or less of malignant ovarian tumors.[3] Epithelial cancers are the most common type of ovarian cancer and are further classified into five main types: high-grade serous, endometrioid, clear cell, mucinous, and low-grade serous carcinomas.[4] What has been thought to be primary ovarian cancer often originates in the fallopian tube or endometrium, in particular, the serous, mucinous, and endometrial forms of ovarian cancer.[3,4] Detection of epithelial carcinomas, the most common and lethal forms of ovarian cancer, has been the focus of screening programs.

Risk Factors

For a complete description of factors associated with an increased or decreased risk of ovarian cancer, refer to the Nonhereditary Factors Associated With an Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer section in the PDQ summary on Ovarian Cancer Prevention for more information. Several cancer family syndromes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 hereditary breast-ovarian syndrome and Lynch syndrome are associated with a marked increased risk of ovarian cancer.[3,5] (Refer to the Autosomal Dominant Inheritance of Breast/Ovarian Cancer Predisposition section in the PDQ summary on Genetics of Breast and Ovarian Cancer for more information about these syndromes and risk of ovarian cancer, which also includes a summary of other known risk factors for ovarian cancer.)

Evidence of Benefit or Lack of Benefit Associated With Different Screening Modalities

Potential screening tests for ovarian cancer include transvaginal ultrasound (TVU) and the serum cancer antigen 125 (CA-125) assay, often performed in combination. Several biomarkers with potential application to ovarian cancer screening are under development but have not yet been validated or evaluated for efficacy in early detection and mortality reduction.

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WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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