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  • About 22,000 women will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer

  • About 15,000 women will die from ovarian cancer

  • It is one of the most difficult diseases to diagnose and the most lethal of all gynecologic malignancies

  • Ovarian cancer is the 9th most common cancer among women, excluding non-melanoma skin cancers. It ranks 5th in cancer deaths among women, accounting for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. Ovarian cancer accounts for about 3% of all cancers in women. A woman's risk of getting ovarian cancer during her lifetime is about 1 in 71. Her lifetime chance of dying from ovarian cancer is about 1 in 95. 

  • There is no way to screen for ovarian cancer

  • At the present time, there is no diagnostic test for ovarian cancer

  • Development in diagnostic tests are being researched, but have not been FDA approved

  • A PAP test does NOT detect ovarian cancer

  • Only 20% of patients are diagnosed in early stage. When ovarian cancer is found early at a localized stage and treated properly, about 94% of patients live longer than 5 years after diagnosis. Unfortunately, most women are diagnosed in more advanced stages in which the cure rate dramatically drops. The recurrance rate for these advanced stages is 70 percent. 

  • During pelvic exams, most early ovarian cancer tumors are difficult or impossible for even the most skilled examiner to feel

  • While no standarized screening tests have been shown to improve ovarian cancer outcomes, there are two tests used most often to detect ovarian cancer: transvaginal ultrasound (TVUS) and the CA-125 blood test

  • Imaging methods like CT scans or MRI scans can confirm whether a pelvic mass is present. They cannot confirm that the mass is a cancer, but they may be useful if your doctor is looking for spread of ovarian cancer to other tissues and organs.

  • See a doctor if you have these signs or symptoms: 

    • Abdominal swelling, bloating, cramping or indegestion (due to a mass or accumulation of fluid)

    • Pelvic pressure or abdominal pain

    • Difficulty eating; feeling full quickly

    • Urinary symptoms (having to go urgently or often)

    • Fatigue

    • Abnormal vaginal bleeding

    • Upset stomach

    • Back pain

    • Pain during sex

    • Constipation

    • Menstrual changes

    • Abdominal swelling with weight loss

  • This disease is not as silent as most people think it is. The sypmtoms are vague, do not always occur in the pelvis and frequently masquerade as a gastrointestinal disorder. They tend to be persistent and represent a change from normal.

  • What is most important about these symptoms is that they are a change from how a woman usually feels. If a woman has these symptoms almost daily for more than a few weeks, she should see her doctor, perferably a gynecologist.


This information is from American Cancer Society, Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, and The Ultimate Guide to Ovarian Cancer by Dr. Benedict Benigno. 

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