Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer occurs when the cells that form the ovaries grow uncontrollably leading to the formation of a tumor and possibly the spread of cancerous cells to other tissues and organs of the body. The ovaries are two almond sized organs in a woman’s pelvis which lie on either side of the uterus. Ovaries are responsible for producing the female sex hormones, Estrogen and Progesterone, as well as releasing ova, or eggs, during ovulation.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer related death in women1. There are more than 20,000 new cases diagnosed and more than 15,000 deaths related to ovarian cancer every year2. Women have a 1.4% risk of developing ovarian cancer during their lifetime; approximately 13 of 100,000 women have the disease3.

Ovarian cancer can affect one or both of the ovaries and can occur in any of the cell types that make up the ovary; however, more than 90% of ovarian tumors occur in epithelial cells which line the surface of the ovary. The average age at diagnosis of epithelial ovarian carcinoma is 63 and roughly ten years earlier for women with hereditary causes3.  Because these tumors are difficult to detect they are often diagnosed at later stages of disease, when the cancerous cells have already spread beyond the tissue of the ovary.

Recent Ovarian Cancer Commentary

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