In the U.S., ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, accounting for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.
- An estimated 21,410 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2021, with 13,770 deaths expected to result from the diagnosis.
- While all women are at risk of ovarian cancer, the overall lifetime risk of developing the disease is 1 in 78.
- The estimated five-year survival rate for patients whose ovarian cancer is detected early is about 93%. However, only 16% of women are diagnosed at the early stages.
- Ovarian cancer can be difficult to diagnose because initial symptoms are similar to gastrointestinal illness and indigestion. Women who experience symptoms daily for more than a few weeks should seek prompt medical evaluation.
Source: American Cancer Society’s Cancer Facts & Figures 2021 and the Society’s website
Signs and Symptoms
A symptom is a change in the body that a person can see and/or feel. A sign is a change that the doctor sees during an examination or on a laboratory test result. If you have any of the symptoms below, it does not mean you have cancer but you should see your doctor or health care professional so that the cause can be found and treated, if needed.
- Pelvic or abdominal (belly) pain
- Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
- Urinary symptoms such as urgency (always feeling like you have to go) or frequency (having to go often)
- Fatigue (extreme tiredness)
- Upset stomach
- Back pain
- Pain during sex
- Changes in a woman’s period, such as heavier bleeding than normal or irregular bleeding
- Abdominal (belly) swelling with weight loss