Did You Know?
Less than two years ago ovarian cancer was referred to as the “silent killer” because it is difficult to diagnose and even more challenging to treat. More recently, it is being referred to as “the disease that whispers”. In June 2007, the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists formed a consensus statement on ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer is cancer that begins in the cells that make up the ovaries (there are two ovaries, one on each side of the pelvis). Cancer that originates at another site (e.g. breast or colon) and spreads to the ovaries is not considered ovarian cancer.
Despite an increase in the resources dedicated to the study of the disease, little remains known about ovarian cancer. Poor long-term survival rates are mostly due to the lack of a reliable method of detection, with less than a quarter of all ovarian cancer cases being detected at the critical early stages. Consequently, the American Cancer Society estimates that 23,100 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and 14,000 women die from the disease annually.
Carcinoma of the ovary is one of the most common gynecologic malignancies. In many cases, it is curable when found early, but because it does not cause any symptoms in its early stages, most women have widespread disease at the time of diagnosis.
Partly because of this, the mortality rate from ovarian cancer exceeds that for all other gynecologic malignancies combined. It is the fourth most frequent cause of death in women in the United States.
About one in every 71 women will develop cancer of the ovary and one in every 95 women will die from it. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 21,550 cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed in 2009 with approximately 14,600 deaths.