The sooner ovarian cancer is found and treated, the better a woman's chance for recovery. However, this type of cancer is hard to detect early. Many times, women with ovarian cancer have no early symptoms, or they experience mild symptoms, until the disease is in an advanced stage.
(Click Ovarian Cancer Symptoms for more information about the symptoms of this condition.)
Research scientists are studying ways to detect the cancer before symptoms develop. This is called ovarian cancer screening. They are exploring the usefulness of measuring the level of CA 125, a substance called a tumor marker, which is often found in higher-than-normal amounts in the blood of women with ovarian cancer. They are also evaluating transvaginal ultrasound, a test that may help detect the disease early.
Statistics on Ovarian Cancer
In the United States, ovarian cancer is the fourth-leading cause of cancer death in women. It is also the leading cause of death from cancer of the female reproductive system. In the United States, more women die of ovarian cancer each year than of cervical and endometrial cancers combined.
The number of new cases went down slightly between 1973-1995, and fewer deaths from ovarian cancer were also reported during this time. Current ovarian cancer screening tests have not been proven to decrease the death rate.
(Click Ovarian Cancer Statistics for more statistics on this disease.)