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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. 

Geaux Teal

P.O. Box 82778

Baton Rouge, LA 70884

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