In the United States, doctors must report any diagnosis of cancer to a state registry. The federal government, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Program of Cancer Registries, oversees the registries in 45 states, the District of Columbia, and three territories. The Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program of the National Cancer Institute funds the remaining five statewide cancer registries. Together, the two programs cover the country’s population.
The following statistics come primarily from the most recent findings of the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program of the National Cancer Institute. SEER numbers are age-adjusted and based on actual data; SEER data is available through 2006. More recent statistics, such as 2009 incidence numbers, are projections from the American Cancer Society.
Each year in the United States, more than 21,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and about 15,000 women die of the disease. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 21,550 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in the United States during 2009. 14,600 deaths are expected to be caused by ovarian cancer in the United States in 2009.
According to the data, the mortality rates for ovarian cancer have not improved in thirty years since the “War on Cancer” was declared. However, other cancers have shown a marked reduction in mortality, due to the availability of early detection tests and improved treatments. Unfortunately, this is not the case with ovarian cancer, which is still the deadliest of all gynecologic cancers.
The Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program reports that on January 1, 2006 in the United States approximately 176,007 women were alive who had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer (including those who had been cured of the disease).
Ovarian cancer accounts for approximately 3 percent of cancers in women. While the ninth most common cancer among women, ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death among women, and is the deadliest of gynecologic cancers. Mortality rates are slightly higher for Caucasian women than for minority women.
A Woman’s Lifetime Risk:
A woman’s lifetime risk of developing invasive ovarian cancer is 1 in 71.
A woman’s lifetime risk of dying from invasive ovarian cancer is 1 in 95.
Ovarian cancer primarily develops in women over 45. From 2002 to 2006, the median age at diagnosis was 63.
From 2002 to 2006, the median age at death from ovarian cancer was 71.
Ovarian cancer survival rates are much lower than other cancers that affect women.
- Overall, the ten-year relative survival rate for ovarian cancer patients is 39%.
- The relative five-year survival rate is 46 percent. Survival rates vary depending on the stage of diagnosis.
- Women diagnosed at an early stage have a much higher five-year survival rate than those diagnosed at a later stage.
- Fewer than 20 percent of ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed early.
- Women diagnosed with breast cancer in 1975 experienced a five-year survival rate of 75.3 percent; today, the American Cancer Society estimates the rate to be 89 percent.
- Women diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1975 experienced a five-year survival rate of 69 percent; today, the American Cancer Society estimates the rate to be 71 percent.
- Women diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1975 experienced a five-year survival rate of 34.8 percent; today, the American Cancer Society estimates the rate to be 46 percent.
For more information, visit:
The National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Program of Cancer Registries Web site