Ovarian cancer is the ninth most common cancer among women, excluding non-melanoma skin cancers. It ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, accounting for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. Ovarian cancer accounts for about 3 percent 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.
This cancer develops mainly in older women. About half of the women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer are 60 years old or older, and ovarian cancer is most common in Caucasian women.
The American Cancer Society's most recent estimates for ovarian cancer in the United States for 2012 are:
What is ovarian cancer?
Ovarian cancer starts in a woman's ovaries. Women have two ovaries that are located in the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus. The ovaries make female hormones and produce eggs.
Signs and symptoms:
Paying attention to your body and know what is normal for you. If you have unusual vaginal bleeding, see a doctor right away. If you have any of the other signs for two weeks or longer and they are not normal for you, see a doctor. They may be caused by something other than cancer, but the only way to know is to see a doctor.
What increases a woman's chances of getting ovarian cancer?
There is no way to know if a woman will get ovarian cancer. However, there are several factors that may increase the chance that an individual will get it, including if she is:
Gynecologic cancers include: cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulvar.
In most cases, the cause of cancer is not known. Although, it is clear that certain changes in cells can cause cancer, and the cell changes can be acquired or inherited. If the changes are acquired they are caused by environmental factors and things people do such as smoking. Almost all cervical cancers and some vaginal and vulvar cancers are caused by human papillomavirus, also called HPV, which is an acquired virus. However, if the changes are inherited, they are passed from parent to child through genes.
For more information on St.Vincent Cancer Care, visit ourfightagainstcancer.org.