Ovarian cancer is the second most common gynecological cancer in women with the highest mortality rate, mostly because it is discovered at a late stage.
Europe, especially the regions in Eastern and Northern Europe have the highest rate of women suffering from ovarian cancer. In 2012 there were 65 000 patients, so the disease became the sixth most common cancer in women in Europe. About 250,000 women develop cancer every year.
Only 50% of the women diagnosed with ovarian cancer survive five years after the initial diagnosis. This is because the cancer is in advanced stage. With early detection, however, this percent can increase up to 95%.
Women can develop ovarian cancer at any age, but it is more likely to occur in women who are 50 or older. More than half of the cases are women at the age of 65 and older. Industrialized countries have the highest incidence of ovarian cancer. Women with white skin are at a slightly higher risk; African-American and Asian women are at lower risk.
The risk of developing the disease increases with the age. Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer in American women and the second most common gynecological cancer. That is 4% of all cases of cancer in women. However, the death rate for ovarian cancer is higher than for any other cancer in women, because it is not early detected.
Symptoms and Signs
Usually there are no early signs of the disease. Ovarian cancer is often referred to as a silent killer, because women are either not aware of having it, or they have symptoms that are not accurately diagnosed until the disease is in an advanced stage.
The following symptoms are considered as warning signs of ovarian cancer, but there may be many other causes.
- Digestive symptoms such as gases, indigestion, constipation or a feeling of fullness after a light meal, bloating, cramps, and abdominal discomfort.
- Pelvic pressure or frequent urination
- Unexplained changes in the bowel
- Nausea or vomiting
- Abdominal pain or swelling
- Loss of appetite (anorexia)
- Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
- Pain during intercourse
- Vaginal bleeding in post-menopausal women