• Ovarian cancer is the 7th most common cancer in women worldwide.
  • Over 239,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer worldwide each year, and about 140,000 women die from the disease each year.
  • Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.
  • Epithelial ovarian cancer accounts for about 90% of ovarian cancers, making it the most common type.

Women are often diagnosed with advanced stage disease, as it is frequently without overt or specific symptoms until late in its development.
Do you know signs and symptoms?

  • There is currently no sufficiently accurate screening test for the early detection of ovarian cancer in average-risk women. A Pap smear will NOT detect it.
  • Ovarian cancer is not a silent killer. In June 2007, a consensus statement outlining specific symptoms was released.
  • Know the symptoms! They include bloating, pelvic/abdominal pain, urinary symptoms, difficulty eating, or feeling full quickly.

The most important risk for ovarian cancer is a strong family history of ovarian or breast cancer.
Increase your awareness of the risks.

  • Recent research indicates that the site of origin for high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma may be the fallopian tube.
  • About 5% to 10% of ovarian cancers are caused by the inherited mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.
  • Women with mutations in the RAD51D gene have a 1 in 11 chance of developing ovarian cancer. While RAD51D mutations are enriched in women with ovarian cancer, RAD51D mutations do not appear to contribute significantly to breast cancer risk.
  • Lynch syndrome and pelvic inflammatory disease are associated with an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  • Using estrogen alone or with progestin as postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy for 10 or more years increases the risk of ovarian cancer.
  • Using oral contraceptives for 5 or more years, pregnancy, or removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes lower a woman's risk of developing ovarian cancer.

Relative survival varies by age and by stage of disease.
Do you know about relative survival?

  • Age matters! Women younger than 65 are about twice as likely to survive 5 years (58%) after diagnosis than women 65 years of age and older (28%).
  • Women diagnosed with early-stage ovarian cancer have a 5-year survival rate of 92%.
  • Only 15% of all ovarian cancer cases are detected at a localized stage; the majority of ovarian cancer is diagnosed at late-stage.
  • Women with late-stage ovarian cancer have a 5-year survival rate of about 27%.

Research aimed at developing better detection and diagnostic methods as well as novel treatments may yield significant improvement in patient prognosis and quality of life.
You can have a voice in the DoD Ovarian Cancer Research Program.

  • The DoD OCRP is the second-leading federal funding agency for ovarian cancer research in the United States.
  • Since the inception of the DoD OCRP, hundreds of ovarian cancer survivors have helped establish the OCRP's priorities and research award mechanisms and have helped choose the research to be funded.
  • The DOD OCRP supports research that:
    • Leverages critical research resources;
    • Challenges current thinking and approaches;
    • Accelerates movement of ideas into clinical applications;
    • Supports multidisciplinary and nontraditional collaborations; and
    • Fosters the next generation of ovarian cancer researchers.


American Cancer Society: Cancer Facts & Figures 2016;

Crispens MA1. (2012) Endometrial and ovarian cancer in lynch syndrome. Clin Colon Rectal Surg. Jun; 25(2):97-102. doi: 10.1055/s-0032-1313780.

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Lacey JV Jr, Mink PJ, Lubin JH, Sherman ME, Troisi R, Hartge P, Schatzkin A, Schairer C. (2002) Menopausal hormone replacement therapy and risk of ovarian cancer. JAMA. Jul 17; 288(3):334-41. Erratum in: JAMA 2002 Nov 27; 288(20):2544.

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Loveday C, Turnbull C, Ramsay E, Hughes D, Ruark E, et al. (2011) Germline mutations in RAD51D confer susceptibility to ovarian cancer. Nat Genet 43:879-882.

McCann GA1, Eisenhauer EL. (2015) Hereditary cancer syndromes with high risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer: Surgical options for personalized care. J Surg Oncol. Jan; 111(1):118-24. doi: 10.1002/jso.23743. Epub 2014 Aug 20.

Thompson ER, Rowley SM, Sawyer S, kConfab, Eccles DM, Trainer AH, Mitchell G, James PA, Campbell IG. (2013) Analysis of RAD51D in ovarian cancer patients and families with a history of ovarian or breast cancer. PLoS One. 2013; 8(1):e54772. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054772. Epub 2013 Jan 25.

Trabert B1, Wentzensen N, Yang HP, Sherman ME, Hollenbeck A, Danforth KN, Park Y, Brinton LA. (2012) Ovarian cancer and menopausal hormone therapy in the NIH-AARP diet and health study. Br J Cancer. Sep 25; 107(7):1181-7. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2012.397. Epub 2012 Aug 28.

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Last updated Friday, February 5, 2016