According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than 20,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year. The CDC also states that more than 90 percent of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are over the age of 40.
The majority of the ovarian cancer cases are in women 60 years old and over. "Ovarian cancer deaths account for more than any other of the female reproduction system," said the CDC’s website.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) states that there are possible signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. Please note that if you have any of these symptoms on a daily basis and if they last more than a few weeks, contact your gynecologist immediately.
Ovarian cancer symptoms and signs include:
• A swollen abdomen
• A bloated abdomen
• Feeling very tired all the time
• Increased urination or feeling the need to urinate often
• Unusual vaginal bleeding (heavy periods, or bleeding after menopause)
• Pressure or pain in the abdomen, pelvis, back, or legs
• Unexplained back pain
• Nausea, indigestion or gas
• Constipation or diarrhea
• Shortness of breath
• Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
Depending on the source, there are three or four stages of ovarian cancer. According to the NCI, the stages of ovarian cancer include:
• Early stage (cancer is isolated to the ovaries only)
• Regional stage (cancer spreads outside the ovaries to other areas of the pelvis such as the uterus or bladder)
• Distant stage (cancer spreads to the liver or lungs)
More than 19 percent of ovarian cancer cases are detected in the early stage. According to the New York Times, the prognosis for ovarian cancer patients is the following:
• More than 75 percent of women survive ovarian cancer one year after diagnosis
• Three out of four women survive ovarian cancer one year after diagnosis
• More than 46 percent of women survive ovarian cancer five years after diagnosis
Also, the NCI states the following regarding ovarian cancer prognosis:
• You have a 93 percent chance of surviving five years or more, if you are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the early stage
• You have a 72.8 percent chance of surviving five years or more, if you are diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the regional stage
• You have a 28.8 percent chance of surviving five years or more, if you are diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the distant stage
According to the CDC, ovarian cancer treatment is most effective when the cancer is found in the early stage. Treatments for ovarian cancer are based on your stage of ovarian cancer. Treatment for ovarian cancer can include a hysterectomy, radiation, chemotherapy and/or clinical drug trials.
The New York Times offers an extensive in-depth report on ovarian cancer treatments at http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/ovarian-cancer/treatment.html.
Ovarian cancer - PubMed Health. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved September 12, 2011, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001891
What You Need To Know About Ovarian Cancer - National Cancer Institute. Comprehensive Cancer Information - National Cancer Institute. Retrieved September 12, 2011, from
Ovarian Cancer Has Early Symptoms. American Cancer Society: Information and Resources for Cancer: Breast, Colon, Prostate, Lung and Other Forms. Retrieved September 12, 2011, from
Michigan Department of Community Health. Facts about Ovarian Cancer. Retrieved September 12, 2011, from http://www.michigancancer.org/PDFs/MDCHFactSheets/OvariCaFactSheet-Feb11.pdf
CDC - Gynecologic Cancers - Ovarian Cancer. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved September 12, 2011, from http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/ovarian
Ovarian Cancer Prognosis - Ovarian Cancer Health Information - NY Times Health. Health News - The New York Times. Retrieved September 12, 2011, from
Ovarian Cancer Treatment - Ovarian Cancer Health Information - NY Times Health. Health News - The New York Times. Retrieved September 12, 2011, from
Reviewed September 12, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Jody Smith