Alert: We're here for you. Learn how COVID-19 may affect cancer patients.

44 Statistics to Know About Ovarian Cancer

Facts and Figures for 2020

Ovarian cancer is the deadliest cancer of the female reproductive organs, outpacing all other forms of gynecological cancer.

Although rates of ovarian cancer have steadily declined in recent decades, more than 20,000 new cases are estimated in 2020.

Ovarian cancer risk is largely linked to age, genes and hormones. But did you know ovarian cancer also can develop because of occupational and secondhand exposure to asbestos?

It’s important to be familiar with ovarian cancer and its risk factors to ensure you and your loved ones stay healthy. The following statistics explain everything you need to know.

The State of Ovarian Cancer in the U.S.

  • There are more than 30 different types of ovarian cancer.

    NOCC

  • Ovarian cancer is the 17th most common cancer.

    NIH

  • Approximately 21,750 women are projected to receive a new ovarian cancer diagnosis in 2020.

    ACS

  • Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women.

    ACS

  • Nearly 14,000 women will die from ovarian cancer in 2020.

    ACS

  • More deaths are caused by ovarian cancer than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.

    CDC

  • Ovarian cancer is one of the four types of cancer linked to asbestos exposure.

    Asbestos.com

  • New ovarian cancer cases have steadily declined for approximately 20 years.

    ACS

  • Epithelial tumors make up 90% of ovarian cancer cases.

    ACS

  • Ovarian cancer makes up 1.3% of all new cancer cases and 2.3% of all cancer deaths.

    NIH

Ovarian Cancer Demographics

  • The median age of patients who die from ovarian cancer is 70.

    OCRA

  • About half of ovarian cancer diagnoses occur in women ages 63 and older.

    ACS

  • Women who never carried a pregnancy to term may have a higher risk of ovarian cancer.

    ACS

  • Ovarian cancer mortality rates are lowest in Asian and Pacific Islander women.

    ACS

  • Only 5.3% of ovarian cancer diagnoses occur in women younger than 35.

    NIH

  • The five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is 10 percentage points lower for black women than white women.

    NCBI

Risk Factors, Causes and Prevention

  • A woman’s risk of dying from ovarian cancer is 1 in 108.

    ACS

  • Using hormone therapy — specifically estrogens alone or in combination with progesterone after menopause — increases ovarian cancer risk.

    ACS

  • Women who have had breast cancer are at a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.

    ACS

  • Oral contraceptive use over time is linked to a 50% decrease in ovarian cancer risk.

    ACS

  • A gene mutation called BRCA causes 5% to 10% of ovarian cancer cases.

    ACS

  • Premenopausal women with BRCA gene mutations can reduce their ovarian cancer risk by 85% to 95% if they have their ovaries removed.

    ACS

  • A woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer throughout her lifetime is 1 in 78.

    ACS

  • The lifetime risk of ovarian cancer increases from 1.4% to 5% if an immediate family member had the disease.

    OCRA

Ovarian Cancer Linked to Talc and Asbestos

  • There is a link between talc and increased risk for ovarian cancer.

    NCBI

  • Concerns over the link between talc and ovarian cancer first arose in 1971 when talc particles were found in an ovarian tumor.

    BJOG

  • A 2016 study found that using talc on genitals may increase ovarian cancer risk by 33%.

    NCBI

  • Women who are exposed to asbestos via occupation have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.

    NCBI

  • Wives and daughters of workers who have been exposed to asbestos have a higher ovarian cancer risk because of secondhand exposure.

    Asbestos.com

Early Detection and Staging

  • About 15 deaths could be prevented each year for every 10,000 women who receive annual ovarian cancer screenings.

    MD Anderson

  • Approximately 20% of ovarian cancer diagnoses are caught in an early stage.

    NOCC

  • The five-year survival rate for local-stage ovarian cancer is more than 90%.

    ACS

  • New blood tests can detect 90% of Stage 1 ovarian cancers and 100% of ovarian cancers in later stages.

    BBRC

  • Approximately 80% of ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed with advanced disease that has spread throughout the abdominal cavity.

    ACS

Life Expectancy, Survival and Treatment

  • Women who undergo surgical treatment may live four times longer, but nearly 20% of patients with ovarian cancer do not opt for surgery.

    BJOG

  • Approximately 25% of ovarian cancer patients over age 75 receive no treatment at all.

    Gynecologic Oncology

  • The one-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is 72.4%.

    NOCC

  • The five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is 47.6%.

    NIH

  • The 10-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is 35.7%.

    Healthline

Germ-Cell and Stromal Tumors

  • Approximately 7% of ovarian cancer cases are stromal tumors.

    Mayo Clinic

  • Less than 2% of ovarian cancer cases involve germ-cell tumors.

    Cancer Treatment Centers of America

  • Patients with germ-cell tumors can be cured and have their fertility preserved in 90% of cases.

    NOCC

  • Germ-cell tumors occur most commonly in younger women.

    Mayo Clinic

  • Approximately 70% of stromal tumors present as Stage 1 disease.

    NOCC

The Importance of Ovarian Cancer Awareness

While ovarian cancer is aggressive, research is helping improve prognoses.

A recent study found a drug that prevents ovarian cancer from recurring. Additionally, new blood tests can identify 90% of early-stage ovarian cancer, increasing the importance and effectiveness of regular screenings and early detection.

You can take the following steps to be proactive:

  • Stay aware of ovarian cancer risk factors.
  • Research your family history to see if you are at an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
  • Ask your doctor about pelvic ultrasounds and blood tests to rule out the possibility of ovarian cancer as early as possible.

The Mesothelioma Center’s mission is to help spread awareness about mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers, including ovarian cancer. If you suspect you’ve been exposed to asbestos, talk to your doctor about screenings for mesothelioma and ovarian cancer.

Share this article

Last Modified July 28, 2020

Registered Nurse and Patient Advocate

Karen Selby joined Asbestos.com in 2009. She is a registered nurse with a background in oncology and thoracic surgery and was the regional director of a tissue bank before becoming a Patient Advocate at The Mesothelioma Center. Karen has assisted surgeons with thoracic surgeries such as lung resections, lung transplants, pneumonectomies, pleurectomies and wedge resections. She is also a member of the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators.

Walter Pacheco, Managing Editor at Asbestos.com
Edited by
Chat live with a patient advocate now