Pacific Cancer Programs

Ovarian Cancer

Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. Cancer is always named for the part of the body where it starts, even if it spreads to other body parts later. When cancer starts in the ovaries, it is called ovarian cancer. 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.

Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.† But when ovarian cancer is found in its early stages, treatment is most effective. Ovarian cancer often causes signs and symptoms, so it is important to pay attention to your body and know what is normal for you. Symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer, but the only way to know is to see your doctor, nurse, or other health care professional.

Know Your Risk

All women are at risk for ovarian cancer, but older women are more likely to get the disease than younger women. About 90 percent of women who get ovarian cancer are older than 40 years of age, with the greatest number being aged 55 years or older. In 2004,* 20,095 women in the United States were told that they have ovarian cancer, making it the second most common gynecologic cancer, after uterine.† Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other gynecologic cancer in the U.S., but it accounts for only about 3 percent of all cancers in women.

  • *The most recent year for which statistics are currently available.
  • †U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. United States Cancer Statistics: 2004 Incidence and Mortality. Atlanta (GA): Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer Institute; 2007.

Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

National Cancer Institute (NCI)

MedlinePlus - Ovarian Cancer Link - MedlinePlus will direct you to information to help answer health questions. MedlinePlus brings together authoritative information from NLM, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other government agencies and health-related organizations. MedlinePlus also has extensive information about drugs, an illustrated medical encyclopedia, interactive patient tutorials, and latest health news.

American Cancer Society (ACS)

ACS is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service.

Ovarian Cancer – Understanding the Illness and Overcoming It

Licensed Practical Nurse provides you with ovarian cancer information including, the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, prevention, screening, and management of the cancer.

Printed Materials to Download

Inside Knowledge: Get the Facts About Gynecologic Cancer

This fact sheet from CDC describes the parts of the uterus and answers common questions about uterine cancer.

  • Download the two-page fact sheet in PDF format: (pdf 329 KB).

"What You Need To Know About Ovarian Cancer"

NCI's booklet, "What You Need To Know About Ovarian Cancer," will inform you about possible causes, screening, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and supportive care for ovarian cancer. You will also find ideas about how to cope with the disease.

  • Download the PDF file (NCI 2006, 44 pages): (pdf 467 KB).
Online Tools

Siteman Cancer Center: Ovarian Cancer Risk Questionnaire

To estimate your risk of ovarian cancer and learn about ways to lower that risk, take a few minutes to answer some questions about your health, background, and lifestyle.

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Pacific CEED, award #: 5U58DP000976,USAPI Community Health Interventions Project (CHIP), award #: 1U58DP005810,
Pacific Regional Central Cancer Registry, award #: 5U58DP003906; Regional Comprehensive Cancer Control Program, award #: U55/CCU923887.
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