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Ovarian Cancer Prevention (PDQ®)

  • Last Modified: 02/28/2014

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Incidence and Mortality

Incidence and Mortality

In 2014, it is estimated that 21,980 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed and 14,270 deaths due to ovarian cancer will occur. Incidence rates have been relatively stable since 1992. Death rates for ovarian cancer decreased by 2.8% per year from 2006 to 2010.[1]

For the general population of women, the lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer is 1.39%; the lifetime risk of dying from ovarian cancer is 1.04%.[2] Some women are at an increased risk due to an inherited susceptibility to ovarian cancer with the magnitude of that risk depending on the affected gene and specific mutation. Underlying ovarian cancer risk can be assessed through accurate pedigrees and/or genetic markers of risk. Because of uncertainties about cancer risks associated with specific gene mutations, genetic information may be difficult to interpret outside of families with a high incidence of ovarian cancer. Three inherited ovarian cancer susceptibility syndromes have been described: (1) familial site-specific ovarian cancer; (2) familial breast/ovarian cancer; and (3) Lynch II syndrome, which is a combination of breast, ovarian, endometrial, gastrointestinal, and genitourinary cancers.[3,4] Considering family history in the absence of specific information on BRCA1/2 mutation status, unaffected women who have two or three relatives with ovarian cancer have a cumulative ovarian cancer risk of about 7%.[3,5] Women who have a mother or sister with ovarian cancer have a cumulative lifetime risk of ovarian cancer of about 5%.

This summary does not address the groups that are at high risk due to inherited genetic factors. (Refer to the PDQ summary on the Genetics of Breast and Ovarian Cancer for more information.)

  1. American Cancer Society.: Cancer Facts and Figures 2014. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society, 2014. Available online. Last accessed March 26, 2014. 

  2. Altekruse SF, Kosary CL, Krapcho M, et al.: SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2007. Bethesda, Md: National Cancer Institute, 2010. Also available online. Last accessed January 29, 2014. 

  3. Trimble EL, Karlan BY, Lagasse LD, et al.: Diagnosing the correct ovarian cancer syndrome. Obstet Gynecol 78 (6): 1023-6, 1991.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  4. Genetic risk and screening techniques for epithelial ovarian cancer. ACOG Committee Opinion: Committee on Gynecologic Practice. Number 117--December 1992. Int J Gynaecol Obstet 41 (3): 321-3, 1993.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  5. Kerlikowske K, Brown JS, Grady DG: Should women with familial ovarian cancer undergo prophylactic oophorectomy? Obstet Gynecol 80 (4): 700-7, 1992.  [PUBMED Abstract]