Ovarian cancer begins in the ovaries. Ovaries are reproductive glands found only in females. The ovaries produce eggs for reproduction. The ovaries are also the main source of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone.
The American Cancer Society estimates for ovarian cancer in the United States for 2016 are:
- About 22,280 women will receive a new diagnosis o ovarian cancer.
- About 14,240 women will die from ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, accounting for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. A woman’s risk of getting ovarian cancer during her lifetime is about 1 in 75. Her lifetime chance of dying from ovarian cancer is about 1 in 100.
This cancer mainly develops in older women. About half of the women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer are 63 years or older. It is more common in white women than African-American women.
Early cancers of the ovaries often cause no symptoms. When ovarian cancer causes symptoms, they tend to be symptoms that are more commonly caused by other things. These symptoms include abdominal swelling or bloating, pelvic pressure or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, and/or urinary symptoms. Most of these symptoms can also be caused by other less serious conditions. These symptoms can be more severe when they are caused by ovarian cancer, but that isn’t always true. What is most important is that they are a change from how a woman usually feels.
The American Cancer Society works to bring awareness and information about cancers, risk factors and diagnosis. Remember if you or a family member have questions or concerns about ovarian cancer or any other cancers please remember to contact your healthcare provider.