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A prognosis is a medical opinion as to the likely course and outcome of the disease based on the experiences of hundreds of patients. However, various factors can affect this, such as the patient's general health and response to treatment, as well as the cancer's stage. For that reason, a prognosis for ovarian cancer cannot be used to predict with certainty what will happen to a specific person.

Prognosis for Ovarian Cancer: An Overview

Women who are facing ovarian cancer are naturally concerned about what their future holds. Understanding ovarian cancer and what to expect can help patients and their loved ones plan appropriate treatment, think about lifestyle changes, and make decisions about their quality of life and finances. Many people with ovarian cancer want to know their prognosis, so they may ask their doctor or search for ovarian cancer statistics on their own.

What Is an Ovarian Cancer Prognosis?

A prognosis is a medical opinion as to the likely course and outcome of a disease. In other words, the prognosis is the chance that a patient will recover or have a recurrence (return of the cancer).
Factors that can affect a woman's ovarian cancer prognosis include:
  • The type and location of the cancer
  • The stage of the disease (the extent to which the cancer has metastasized, or spread)
  • The person's age, general health, and response to treatment.
When healthcare providers discuss a person's prognosis, they carefully consider all of the factors that could affect that person's disease and treatment, and then they try to predict what might happen. The doctor will base the prognosis on information researchers have collected over many years about hundreds or even thousands of people with cancer. When possible, the healthcare provider will use statistics based on groups of people whose situations are most similar to that of an individual patient's.
The doctor may speak of a favorable prognosis if the cancer is likely to respond well to treatment. The prognosis for ovarian cancer may be unfavorable if the cancer is likely to be difficult to control. However, it is important to keep in mind that a prognosis is only a prediction; the doctor cannot be absolutely certain about the outcome for a particular patient.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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