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 for most data through 2009. More recent statistics, such as 2014 incidence numbers, are projections from the American Cancer Society.
The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2014, about 21,980 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed and 14,270 women will die of ovarian cancer in the United States.
According to the data, the mortality rates for ovarian cancer have not improved in forty 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, 2009 in the United States approximately 182,758 women were alive who had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer (including those who had been cured of the disease).
Ovarian cancer accounts for approximately three percent of cancers in women. While the 11th 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 African-American women.1
A Woman’s Lifetime Risk:
A woman’s lifetime risk of developing invasive ovarian cancer is 1 in 72.
A woman’s lifetime risk of dying from invasive ovarian cancer is 1 in 100.
Approximately 1.2 percent were diagnosed under age 20; 3.6 percent between 20 and 34; 7.4 percent between 35 and 44; 18.6 percent between 45 and 54; 23.4 percent between 55 and 64; 20.1 percent between 65 and 74; 17.6 percent between 75 and 84; and 8.1 percent 85+ years of age.
From 2005 to 2009, the median age at diagnosis was 63. For the same period, the median age of death from ovarian cancer was 71.
Ovarian cancer survival rates are much lower than other cancers that affect women.
- The relative five-year survival rate is 44 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.
- Approximately 15 percent of ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed early.2
- 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 90 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 69 percent.
- Women diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1975 experienced a five-year survival rate of 36 percent; today, the American Cancer Society estimates the rate to be 43 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