In 2011, it is estimated that 21,990 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed and 15,460 deaths due to ovarian cancer will occur. Incidence rates have been decreasing by 1% per year since 1992. Death rates for ovarian cancer have been decreasing by 1.7% per year since 2002.
Ovarian cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the ovaries.
The ovaries are a pair of organs in the female reproductive system. They are in the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus (the hollow, pear-shaped organ where a fetus grows). Each ovary is about the size and shape of an almond. The ovaries make eggs and female hormones (chemicals that control the way certain cells or organs work in the body).Anatomy of the female reproductive system. The organs in the female reproductive...
For the general population of women, the lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer is 1.39%; the lifetime risk of dying from ovarian cancer is 1.04%. Some women are at an increased risk due to an inherited susceptibility to ovarian cancer with the magnitude of that risk depending on the affected gene and specific mutation. Underlying ovarian cancer risk can be assessed through accurate pedigrees and/or genetic markers of risk. Because of uncertainties about cancer risks associated with specific gene mutations, genetic information may be difficult to interpret outside of families with a high incidence of ovarian cancer. Three inherited ovarian cancer susceptibility syndromes have been described: (1) familial site-specific ovarian cancer; (2) familial breast/ovarian cancer; and (3) Lynch II syndrome, which is a combination of breast, ovarian, endometrial, gastrointestinal, and genitourinary cancers.[3,4] Considering family history in the absence of specific information on BRCA1/2 mutation status, unaffected women who have two or three relatives with ovarian cancer have a cumulative ovarian cancer risk of about 7%.[3,5] Women who have a mother or sister with ovarian cancer have a cumulative lifetime risk of ovarian cancer of about 5%.
This summary does not address the groups that are at high risk due to inherited genetic factors. (Refer to the PDQ summary on the Genetics of Breast and Ovarian Cancer for more information.)
American Cancer Society.: Cancer Facts and Figures 2011. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society, 2011. Also available online. Last accessed July 27, 2011.
Altekruse SF, Kosary CL, Krapcho M, et al.: SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2007. Bethesda, Md: National Cancer Institute, 2010. Also available online. Last accessed May 20, 2011.
Trimble EL, Karlan BY, Lagasse LD, et al.: Diagnosing the correct ovarian cancer syndrome. Obstet Gynecol 78 (6): 1023-6, 1991.
Genetic risk and screening techniques for epithelial ovarian cancer. ACOG Committee Opinion: Committee on Gynecologic Practice. Number 117--December 1992. Int J Gynaecol Obstet 41 (3): 321-3, 1993.
Kerlikowske K, Brown JS, Grady DG: Should women with familial ovarian cancer undergo prophylactic oophorectomy? Obstet Gynecol 80 (4): 700-7, 1992.